Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has slammed NPEHT for the irresponsible manner in which they have leaked their recommendations that the entire country should be moved to level 5 to the media. The Independent TD has said that such news is detrimental to the business community and wider society and has called on NPHET to be held to account for the damage that this extreme announcement will have.

“This evening’s news will come as a massive shock to many and will cause huge uncertainty and lack of confidence within the business community and wider society.

It is exactly this type of scenario that we were supposed to avoid by having the Living with Covid plan to ensure that Business and society could operate effectively with restrictions and plan ahead as we move gradually through the different levels.

It is deeply irresponsible for NPHET to leak this news to the media in such a manner before government have even had an opportunity to consider the recommendations as it causes huge damage and anxiety particularly to the business community.” exclaimed Deputy McGrath

Despite a rise in cases in recent weeks, Deputy McGrath said that he is concerned that a jump from level 2 in most of the country to level 5 appears to be a complete overreaction and an overly cautious response with insufficient justification.

“We are all concerned about the rise in cases in recent weeks but we have to be cognisant of the impact of taking such an extreme measure with limited justification. There is little point in having a road map with stages laid out if we are going to scrap it and jump to the most extreme level just weeks after introducing it without moving gradually through the stages.”

Speaking in Dáil Eireann during the week Deputy McGrath called on the government to avoid talk of lockdown at all costs and to look at alternative strategies used elsewhere.

“We must avoid full lockdown at all costs due to the impact on business, society and the economy. There are businesses up and down this country who will simply not survive another lockdown and the fact that NPEHT can so blatantly disregard this fact by leaking their recommendations to the media is deeply worrying.

Jumping from lockdown, re-opening and back to lockdown will be detrimental and we need to find better ways to do this.
We all accept the need to be more cautious with the rising numbers but NPHET should not be releasing this info in such a manner without giving government an opportunity to consider it and the impact it will have on all of society.”

As leader of the Rural Independent Group Deputy McGrath has written to the Taoiseach and has requested an immediate meeting with the Taoiseach and with the CMO and NPHET to allow him and other opposition leaders an opportunity to discuss this matter with NPHET.

“While we have to be cautious in how we all act with the rising numbers, we also have to be extremely cautious about the idea of putting the whole country into such a level and the negative impact that this will have on so many.

“Thousands of people continue to suffer as a result of the first lockdown and many more businesses will close for good if we have to go into stage 5 so bluntly. It will be detrimental. Thousands are suffering with mental health difficulties and anxiety as a result of these restrictions and those with disabilities have had little reprieve. It is high time that we start to take those suffering into account when making such radical decisions,” concluded McGrath