Responding to the Taoiseach’s announcement of the easing of lockdown restrictions, co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, has said:

“It’s surprising that the Taoiseach has this evening set out a phased easing of restrictions based on dates, given that the Government’s previous plan emphasised that any change would be based on data instead.

“At a time when the R-number is estimated to be between 1 and 1.3 and daily case numbers remain stubbornly high, one would have expected the Government’s response to be based on modelling with real-time data rather than arbitrary dates.

“Given the level of concern about the new variants in particular, it is a concern that there is no indication of specific actions to drive down the current rates.

“The Government has still not delivered on three key measures which could go some way to addressing the high case rates. They are:

  1. Fully resourcing public health doctors to enable them to play a key role in the response to Covid.
  2. Ramping up 14-day retrospective contact tracing to establish where transmission is taking place.
  3. Properly addressing international travel and the weak policy on self-quarantining at home.

“Today’s announcement also brings up a question on the evictions ban. The circumstances of people facing eviction have not changed, and the Government needs to make provision for an extension of the evictions ban as this has been linked to the 5km travel rule.

“The changes proposed to the vaccine priority list require explanation in terms of how they will operate. The Government needs to spell out if this will entail a self-registration system. If so, is the IT system capable of this and how do they plan to approach hard-to-reach groups?”

March 30, 2021

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