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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Level 5 recommendations ‘came out of the blue’ from NPHET, according to Tánaiste


by Erin Lindsay
06th Oct 2020
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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar commented on the recommendations on last night’s Claire Byrne Live


Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that NPHET’s recommendation to move the entire country to Level 5 restrictions “hadn’t been thought through and was made without prior consultation”.

The government made the decision to deride from NPHET’s advice last night and move Ireland to Level 3 restrictions nationwide. The restrictions will come into place from midnight tonight.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live last night, Varadkar said that NPHET gave “no suggestion” of Level 5 restrictions last Thursday, when they received the latest advice from the team.

“What happened on Sunday night came out of the blue,” he said. He added that there was “no sudden change in the last three days that legitimised a move from [level] 3 to 5?.

According to the Tánaiste, there were three key reasons the government rejected Level 5 recommendations:

  1. The wider impact of a potential second lockdown, such as mass job loss, businesses potentially closing permanently and mental health implications.
  2. The recommendation “was not in line” with the Living with Covid plan the government had agreed with NPHET
  3. NPHET’s assessment that hospitals were imminently facing the possibility of being overwhelmed wasn’t shared by the CEO of the HSE Paul Reid and the HSE was not consulted beforehand on this

Varadkar remarked that, while he had full confidence in Dr. Tony Holohan and NPHET to dispense health advice, “None of those people [in NPHET], for example, would have faced being on the pandemic unemployment payment yesterday.

None of them would have to tell somebody that they were losing their job, and none of them would have had to shut their business for the last time.”

Varadkar added that the power to fight Covid-19 still lay in our hands.  “We can push the virus back, it’s not inevitable that we’re facing into a second lockdown. But we do have to follow that basic public health advice that we all do agree on,” he said.


Read more: Ireland to move to Level 3 restrictions from Tuesday

Read more: ‘The world has adjusted to our normal’ – how it feels to have a child with special needs during Covid-19

Read more: Pandemic panic: How to spot false information about Covid online (and make sure it doesn’t affect your mental health)