A leading economist has taken issue with the claim that the Level 5 lockdown has driven a fall in Covid positive tests –  and he has asserted that the additional measures cost Ireland 100,000 jobs when “level 3 was working.” 

Dan O’Brien is chief economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs, and a lecturer in UCD.

He tweeted that ‘looking at the evidence’ it did not support the claim that the Level 5 lockdown was working, and pointed to the trend in testing positivity rate which “changed from 17 October, stabilising and then falling”.

 

He added that Covid hospitalisations peaked on October 20, before the country moved to Level 5.

Mr O’Neill then pointed to the decline in new cases – and said that the downward turn showed Level 3 was working, but that Level 5 was then introduced.

While he acknowledged that restrictions must be part of any strategy to contain Covid he said the loss of more than 100,000 jobs because of increased restrictions should be the focus of an inquiry.

“But the loss of more than 100,000 jobs as a direct result of Level 5 – when Level 3 was working – will surely be one of big questions posed at the Covid public enquiry when it happens,” he wrote.

Analyst Graham Neary who has been a critic of the increased restrictions agreed with O’Neill’s assertions.

Others disagreed: