There is a “strong” and “very real” possibility that Dublin will move to level three in the Government’s plans for coping with the coronavirus pandemic, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said.
The Government on Tuesday published details of the country’s new medium-term plan for living with the coronavirus. Under the plan, the State, including Dublin, has been set at level two (of five) while additional restrictions have been placed on the capital.
Opposition parties had criticised the “bespoke” measures for Dublin, which include wet pubs being forced to remain closed, announced under the road map on Tuesday.
Mr Donohoe told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that all measures were about containing the virus and until Covid-19 cases in Dublin were reduced the advice remained that people in the capital should not travel outside the city or the county.
At all times the Government would be guided by the advice of the medical experts, he said. The National Public Health Emergency Team will provide further advice to the Government on Thursday after which there was “a very real possibility” that Dublin will move to level three.
All decisions will be taken with the aim of saving lives, Mr Donohoe added.
When asked about a case raised by the Labour party TD Duncan Smith about a couple from his constituency (Fingal) who were due to have their wedding outside Dublin shortly, Mr Donohoe said he would urge them to reconsider and not to leave Dublin.
The Minister also said anyone from Dublin considering a staycation elsewhere in the country should reschedule and he hoped that accommodation providers would be flexible about deposits.
Mr Donohoe also defended the decision by the Ceann Comhairle to halt Dáil proceedings on Tuesday when Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly went for a Covid-19 test. The Dáil was a workplace and was subject to the same guidelines as the public, he said. It had been “entirely understandable” what had happened, he said but admitted it might have been more appropriate to have had a temporary adjournment.
Earlier on Morning Ireland, Mr Smith, Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, had said that the Government should have placed Dublin clearly on either level two or level three on Tuesday.