Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.11 15 Sep 2021


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The Government should rule out the future use of "abhorrent" lockdowns, according to Ivan Yates.

The former broadcaster and minister says the country "cannot pay for another lockdown".

He was speaking after Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned that NPHET “cannot fully rule out” the re-introduction of public health restrictions in the future.

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Dr Holohan said Ireland's response must remain "agile and flexible, with an ability to pivot rapidly and respond to any emerging threat".

Ivan told The Pat Kenny Show the CMO is right to only be interested in the public health situation.

However, he suggested that “government has to govern, and Tony Holohan never got a vote".

He said: “He should have rephrased it, and said he couldn’t rule out the possibility of recommending restrictions and lockdown."

Ivan believes Ireland should follow the example of the UK and decide "there's more to life than COVID".

He said it's vital to keep people safe, and the focus should continue to be on policies such as vaccines, boosters and mask-wearing.

However, he added: "In 40 years of WHO… there were practices of isolation, of quarantine and so on… but we never reached for absolutely abhorrent lockdown.

"I think lockdown should be ruled out by the Government - that whatever happens, we are not going to go back to lockdown.

“Lockdown has added [billions] to the national debt… it resulted in two years of unprecedented budget deficits. There is no free money - it’s all going to have to be repaid.

“We cannot afford another lockdown - we cannot pay for another lockdown. The starting point is ‘what do we need to do to make people as safe as possible?’"

He also suggested the situation with cancer in this country has gotten “much worse” due to delays in diagnosis and care.

Main image: Ivan Yates. Photo: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

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