Halligan: 'Argument to be made' for starting discussion on lifting restrictions on regional basis

Junior Minister John Halligan has said that there is an "argument to be made" around starting a discussion on lifting restrictions on a regional basis.
Halligan: 'Argument to be made' for starting discussion on lifting restrictions on regional basis

Junior Minister John Halligan has said that there is an "argument to be made" around starting a discussion on lifting restrictions on a regional basis.

Mr Halligan said that while he was not saying that was not what should happen, he believes there is "a case to be made" for beginning the discussion.

The former Waterford TD who is still Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research said that with the regional weighting of Covid-19 cases, it could be argued that restrictions could be lifted.

"I was making the point that half the cases are in Dublin, regretfully. If you look at UHW in Waterford, we have seven people in hospital and two in intensive care from 160 cases.

"So, there's a case for that discussion to take place. I'm not saying that's what should happen - I'm not a medical expert and I want to make that clear - but I think there is a case for that discussion as has happened in other countries.

I'm relaying what businesses are saying to me that 'we don't have a spike here' or 'it's not as severe' why are we in the same lockdown?

Mr Halligan said that the counter to that argument was one of national solidarity.

"You can also make the case that we're all in this together - and we are all in this together as Irishmen and Irishwomen, but it's something that might have to be looked at the longer this goes on. But I'm not asking politicians to make that decision."

A regional reopening based on the lowest number of cases would see Leitrim, Sligo, Carlow, Longford, Waterford and Wexford reopened before urban centres. Of Ireland's 19,877 cases of Covid-19, 9,664 have been reported in Dublin, with 1,126 in Cork.

Around the world, countries are working to reopen their economies, with some trialling regional reopenings based on the number of cases and the overall hospital capacity in those areas.

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