The Green Party leader has said he hopes the extra restrictions imposed on Dublin will encourage people to ‘really focus and double down’ on public health guidelines.
The Government this morning launched its new five-level ‘Living with COVID’ plan, with entire country placed on Level Two.
However, several extra restrictions have been placed on the capital – with pubs that don’t serve food forced to remain shut and gatherings limited to two households.
The changes have led to claims the Government was undermining its own plan as soon as it was launched; however, on The Hard Shoulder this evening, Eamon Ryan said the extra restrictions should act as a ‘signal’ to the people of Dublin.
“While some people might say, ‘you should have just stuck rigidly to what the five-level plan is,’ to my mind if those little variations to the plan give that message that we really do have to pay attention in Dublin now, then I think that will be worthwhile,” he said.
Living with COVID
He said new cases and deaths are inevitable – but the plan is about living our lives while preventing the health system from becoming overwhelmed.
“I don’t believe we will be able to suppress the disease to the extent that there are zero cases,” he said.
“We do have to, however, protect lives as best we can while recognising that there will be cluster, there will be outbreak.
“We do that in a way that maintains as much normal life so that we protect people’s health in other ways – their health from loss of work, their health from anxiety, their health from isolation – all of those issues which can come with severe lockdowns have a really bad effect on people’s health.
“So, it is looking at health in the widest context. The plan says that even if there are significant increases, we will not be closing our schools and colleges again.”
He said the plan is “not black and white” and said changes will be inevitable as the situation changes.
“It think that is appropriate because, unfortunately, we are talking about the huge complications of everyday life and the huge variety of circumstances of everyday life and it is not just an absolute iron law that this exactly happens at this level and it changes at another," he said.
“There will be variations. The guidance allows for that and that is what this plan and framework does.”
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