Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has warned that the number of deaths from non-covid illnesses may rise sharply because of the continued lockdowns – and he has slammed the Government for its failure to research or gather information into these likely deaths. 

His warning comes as figures from the British Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that non-Covid deaths in that country from a range of conditions from diabetes to heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s had risen between 74% and 100% from the average recorded in private homes, with restricted access to healthcare considered a factor.

Commenting on the rise in non-Covid deaths in Britain, Irish economist Dan O’Brien tweeted that “another crucial part of assessing Covid and the responses to it will be other health impacts. This points to these impacts being even larger than feared.”

Deputy Tóibín said that the Cabinet needed to be mindful of the effects of “overly aggressive restrictions”.

“Public Health is of primary importance. We must reduce the prevalence of this illness and protect the most vulnerable. We support the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, working from home where possible and washing of hands,” he said.

But he asserted that his party had repeatedly “called on the government, the HSE and Nphet to research the cost of these restrictions” in terms of the expected rise in non-Covid deaths, illnesses, and mental health problems.

“7 months after the start of the Covid, no research has been carried out by the government in relation to the damage the lockdowns are doing to society,” said the Aontú leader.

“Capacity in the treatment and diagnosis of Cancer, heart disease, stroke and mental health has been significantly restricted. This will have a devastating effect on so many families across the country. Hospital Avoidance is increasing again,” he said.

He warned that excess deaths – the number of deaths above the average – because of non-Covid reasons may out number Covid deaths by the end of the year.

“The government simply does not know. Not knowing this information means that the decisions of the government are not evidence based,” he said.

“Restrictions are a major driver of poverty. Small to medium sized businesses are being wiped out. Lower income families and younger people are hardest hit by restrictions. Poverty is a direct cause of morbidity and mortality. Precious little research has been carried out by the government into these effects either,” the Meath West TD continued.

“Ireland is already an outlier in European terms in relation to restrictions. There are three countries where there are no public Christian services. Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Ireland. Sports coaches and trainers have told us about the devastating effects the cancelation of sports had on young people in the early part of this year and of the massive morale boost that happened with training started again,” he said.

“When we ask the government why there are fewer restrictions in other countries with more Covid-19 cases than in Ireland we’re told they have more Health and ICU capacity.  Yet after 7 months of talking about nothing else but Covid & an €18bn budget its incredibly frustrating that the government have hardly moved the dial at all in terms of extra ICU beds. As a result, society remains the front line in the battle against Covid-19 and not the health service”.

“There is a crescendo of panic and fear this weekend. Calm is now needed at cabinet. Covid is a significant threat. But we have to learn to live with this illness. There is no exit plan in this government’s current Yo Yo Covid strategy other than waiting for a Vaccine which could be some time away yet. We need a policy that is high on protecting the most vulnerable, personal responsibility, hospital capacity and income supports and cautious in terms of aggressive restrictions,” said Deputy Tóibín.