| 7.1°C Dublin

Virus surge Taoiseach Micheal Martin blames 'perfect storm' for rapid spread of Covid-19

The Taoiseach is under pressure to defend the Government’s handling of the crisis as Ireland has gone from having the lowest infection rate in Europe at the beginning of December to having the highest in the last week.

Close

Taioseach Micheal Martin during a press briefing (PA)

Taioseach Micheal Martin during a press briefing (PA)

Taioseach Micheal Martin during a press briefing (PA)

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said a “perfect storm” in terms of Christmas socialisation, the new UK variant of the virus, and potential seasonality factors has led to the rapid transmission of the virus. 

He also shot down suggestions the government should be “ashamed” at the way it has presided over the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland.

The Taoiseach is under pressure to defend the Government’s handling of the crisis as Ireland has gone from having the lowest infection rate in Europe at the beginning of December to having the highest in the last week.

Asked by Pat Kenny on Newstalk on Monday if he and the government are ashamed about what they have presided over, Mr Martin responded: “I’m not. I think that’s a very unfair presentation and assertion in the sense that I’m very concerned about it."

Close

The Government, led by Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamonn Ryan, is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time of day

The Government, led by Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamonn Ryan, is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time of day

RollingNews.ie

The Government, led by Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamonn Ryan, is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time of day

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get the numbers down, to get infection reduced in the community and to deal with this in a very resolute and firm way,” Mr Martin added, saying that has Ireland has “always responded effectively” to the various waves and surges of Covid-19 since it impacted on Ireland early last year.

Mr Martin argued that Ireland had entered into a “perfect storm” regarding the circulation of the virus in the community, with socialisation over Christmas and the presence of the UK variant of the virus – which he said was detected in 45 per cent of virus samples and was “a significant factor in the current surge – contributing to the huge rise in cases.

“Our focus is in getting the current wave under control, getting the numbers down… relieving the pressure on our hospitals and protecting the vulnerable and elderly in our community. That’s my entire focus now,” Mr Martin added.

He also defended the Government's decision to reopen hospitality and allow household visits in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

He said: “Ireland has been in a fairly prolonged period of restrictions of one kind or another… coming into the December period we had a six-week period of level five lockdown… before that we had level three.

“Various sectors and people did want relief from that lockdown… all parties welcomed the decision at the end of December.

“I think the levels came way down as a result of the level five lockdown [in November]… the measures worked. There were no mixed messages there."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy