'I was very clear': Tony Holohan told Health Minister of his concerns about rise of Covid-19 cases

'I was very clear': Tony Holohan told Health Minister of his concerns about rise of Covid-19 cases

Dr Tony Holohan told the Nphet press briefing on Wednesday that he had phoned Stephen Donnelly before and after the meeting

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was aware of CMO Dr Tony Holohan's concerns about a rise in Covid-19 cases before Nphet met on Sunday, prompting calls for clarity from the opposition.

Dr Holohan told the Nphet press briefing on Wednesday that he had phoned Mr Donnelly before and after the meeting, at which it was decided that Nphet would recommend going to level 5 restrictions nationwide.

"We discussed my concerns, the concerns I shared with him of the conversations I had had with a range of members of Nphet over the course of the preceding 24 hours.

"I was very clear about the level of concern that I would have, and had,” Dr Holohan said.

Labour leader Alan Kelly tweeted that Mr Donnelly did not offer the information that he had been in contact with Dr Holohan at Monday's press briefing or on RTÉ's Prime Time on Tuesday.

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said that Mr Donnelly needed to address the situation.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, to make a full statement of what he was told on Sunday morning and evening and what he did with that information.

The country was distracted by an unseemly row between the Government and Nphet at precisely the moment when all attention should have been on responding to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

A spokesperson for Mr Donnelly said he had communicated with the Taoiseach on the issue.

"Minister Donnelly informed the Taoiseach on Saturday afternoon that a Nphet meeting would be held on Sunday arising out of concerns about escalating case numbers.

"The Minister for Health and CMO spoke before and after Nphet's meeting on Sunday. Before the meeting, they discussed the deteriorating epidemiological situation. 

"After the meeting, the Minister was informed for the first time that Nphet recommended a move to level 5.

"The Minister and Taoiseach communicated after both conversations between the Minister and CMO on Sunday."

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