We need a full investigation into a spike in the number of deaths registered around the country in recent weeks.
An analysis of RIP.ie death notices published in the Irish Examiner this morning shows there were 9,718 death notices published in the eight weeks up until January 25th.
That is up 20% on the same time last year, when 8,075 were published, and a 19.5% increase on the same period to January 25th, 2021.
The figure in 2019, before the pandemic began, was nearly 3,000 lower than this year.
'Very, very serious'
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the figures point towards “something very, very serious that is happening”.
“The key point is this - and this is really, really important - the Government needs to investigate this very, very clearly, in a scientific fashion,” he said.
“We need to get rid of the word maybe.
“When we see death rates 3,000 higher in a small six-week period than they were in a six-week period pre-COVID, we can’t have the Government standing idly by.”
Deputy Tóibín said we need to know exactly why this is happening – warning that theories are not good enough in a situation like this.
“When there was an elevated death rate in 2020, the Government closed down the country,” he said.
“Here we have an elevated death rate and there are crickets coming from the Government in terms of real scientific analysis.”
The Meath TD said the increased death rate appears to be mirrored across Europe, with Eurostat figures showing increases in both July and August last year.
Among the theories being put forward are increases in flu and other respiratory illnesses this winter – and suggestions people are more vulnerable to certain conditions after recovering from COVID.
Deputy Tóibín said the closure of health services during lockdown was likely a big factor.
“The Government reduced those services significantly at that time and we even had senior consultants on the radio saying there would be a tsunami of far more advanced cancers hitting the system because of these closures.
“There is no doubt in my mind that is having an effect on this.”
Last week, the British House of Commons heard calls for an investigation into increasing death rate rates in the UK.
Some 17,381 deaths were registered in England and Wales in the seven days to January 13 — some 2,837 above the UK average.