Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

16.47 16 Oct 2020


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A decision on whether to move to level five coronavirus restrictions 'can't wait until Monday', Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said.

The opposition leader says it's 'absolutely crucial' that the Government meets urgently.

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Green Party leader will meet with several other ministers tomorrow to consider NPHET's recommendation to move the country to level five for six weeks.

Micheál Martin - who is returning to Dublin this evening following an EU summit in Brussels - has said the recommendation is receiving 'very active consideration', but has not committed to a timeline for a decision.

Speaking this afternoon, Deputy McDonald said a call needs to be made quickly.

She said: "It's absolutely crucial that the Government meets urgently - this critical matter can't wait until Monday.

"All matters need to be on the table, and the Government needs to decide their next steps forward.

"The situation is grave and concerning. It's dangerous, and there needs to be an intervention by Government now.

She said any notion that a decision can be postponed for several days is "simply not tenable", adding: "In fact, I think it would be dangerous."

The NPHET recommendation to Government comes after two consecutive days of record new coronavirus numbers, with the 14-day incidence rate nationwide having now passed 200 per 100,000 population.

The Education Minister has today reiterated that the Government's intention is to keep schools open if the country does move to higher levels of restrictions - but that any relevant public health advice would be followed.

Main image: File photo of Mary Lou McDonald. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

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