A public health expert says Ireland 'will pay the price in deaths' over the coming weeks for easing coronavirus restrictions in December.
The former director of public health for Belfast, Dr Gabriel Scally, told Pat Kenny the consistent problem is the reactive approach from Government.
He said several markers had shown worrying trends, and yet social mixing continued.
"It's not just the numbers of cases that are going up - but there's real evidence that some of those dynamics went wrong last month.
"For example the number of contacts that people are reporting when they tested positive has gone up, and it's now up at five.
"It's that sort of mixing that went on, the enthusiasm that there was to keep open pubs and restaurants in the face of the sure and certain knowledge that it was going to result in exactly what we're seeing."
He said that is very difficult for him to take as a public health doctor.
"We are going to pay the price for that in deaths over the next number of weeks".
"I think there is, across these islands, a real problem with the response."
"Far too often there's a reactive response where people, politicians wait and see what's happening and they want to be convinced that something needs to be done, until they've got the evidence they'll not do it".
He said he believes in prevention: "Prevention's better than a cure, a stitch in time saves nine - but it comes down to doing things when you need to do them - and do them in advance".
'Sadness' of Ireland's contact tracing
He said he worries about "the accuracy of the models" when predicting how the virus will spread.
"I think you've just to go back to public health principles when you're dealing with a highly infectious disease like this".
Dr Scally also said he sounded the alarm in the run-up Christmas.
"You just know what's going to happen once you relax things.
"And it should come as no surprise to the politicians - and I was widely heard and widely quoted as saying that if we loosen things up in December and in the run up to Christmas, make merry with friends and relations, we'll be burying some of those friends, relations and neighbours in January and February.
"And unfortunately that's what it comes down to.
"It's a pretty crude thing: if you take the foot off the brake, if you create space for this virus, you will pay the price in illness and death".
He added that Ireland's contact tracing system was a great success - until now.
He explained there was a big difference between tracing in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
"What happens in the North if you're a contact is you get a text - a text telling you to self-isolate - that is it".
"It's one of the great sadness, I think, that the surge in cases has been allowed to disrupt that contact tracing - that testing and tracing system - that has worked so well.
He said the system had "catapulted" Ireland from the middle of the coronavirus league table to being one of the best in Europe.
"And it was all thrown away", he added.