Government members differ on Covid-19 restrictions 

The Cabinet is set to meet on Monday to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Government members differ on Covid-19 restrictions 

“It’s clear now that the virus is at such a level within all our communities, the county-by-county approach will not be sufficient." Picture: Julian Behal Photography

Varying positions on the level of Covid-19 restrictions to be imposed in the response to surging cases in Ireland are present in the government. 

It is understood that opinions continue to differ between members of the Cabinet. 

One government source said: "It's not breaking along party lines". 

Yesterday, senior public health officials briefed the government about rising case numbers across the country. 

Party leaders Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan attended the briefing given by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

The meeting at Government Buildings ended without a decision taken. 

 

Simon Harris says Government will raise Covid-19 restriction level tomorrow

The Government is to take "decisive" action and will announce further nationwide Covid restrictions on Monday.

It now looks likely that level 4 restrictions with some additions will be imposed after Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said level 3 restrictions "have not worked".

"The Government will act tomorrow and the action will be decisive, the action will be right across the country. It will be a nationwide action.

"It's clear now that the virus exists at such a level in all our community, a county by county approach would not be sufficient. So tomorrow we will have to bring in more restrictions. Level 3 has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where we need it to get to," said Mr Harris.

It comes as the leaders of Government met with NPHET representatives and the head of the HSE yesterday to discuss the recommendations to move to level 5 restrictions.

However, the three party leaders along with the Finance Minister, Public Expenditure Minister and Minister for Health were also briefed on the impact the first lockdown had on people's mental health and also a rise in domestic violence.

"This is different to March April, we're asking people to take more restrictions for a second time and we are having to balance that with our honest view as to what people can sustain and bear. But, we will act tomorrow," said Mr Harris.

He added: "In relation to businesses, we're trying to get the balance right here. We want to keep as much open as we can, but we can't prolong the inevitable either, we can't have a situation where we're doing things in a piecemeal fashion, if we're going to try and get back on top of this virus, we're going to have to take decisive action tomorrow. What government is trying to do it is to find the landing spot as to what is enough to get us to where we want to, but also recognising the lots of different demands that there are."

Mr Harris acknowledged that it is "a really anxious time for people" but added that the trajectory of the virus is now "a real concern" for both the Government and public health experts.

The Minister told RTÉ's the Week in Politics that there are still questions around those in rented accommodation as well as mortgage repayments.

He said the Government is "taking it's time in working through all of those issues" before reaching a decision on further restrictions.

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