Deputy Malcolm Noonan
A letter signed by over 1,000 scientists and academics calling on the Irish Government to reconsider it's phased opening up strategy was highlighted at the Dáil Covid 19 Special Committee by Carlow Kilkenny Green Party TD; Malcolm Noonan.
Deputy Noonan was questioning Dr Cillian De Gascun and Professor Philip Nolan at the committee in relation to testing of healthcare workers and the general population at the committee on Tuesday last. He informed the committee that the 'crush the curve' campaign should be given a special hearing at the committee.
"The crush the curve campaign has presented a 'compelling case' which in my view should be heard," Deputy Noonan told the committee. He spoke of the fact that countries such as New Zealand have eliminated Covid 19 entirely and rather than having a phased easing of lockdown, has now opened up it's entire economy and society with strict restrictions on inward travel.
"Cafes, restaurants and bars will be opening here with 20-30% capacity, schools will re-open later this year with 50% of capacity. Yet we are so painstakingly close to completely suppressing the virus here and if we could succeed in eliminating it on an all island basis," said Deputy Noonan.
He said that he understood the fact that people had reached the limit of their tolerance under restrictions and that older people and younger children in particular had borne a disproportionate burden of the restrictions.
"I fully accept the logic of easing restrictions; we needed to get back to some kind of normality. However wouldn't it just be amazing to have gone further and eliminated Covid from transmission in the community and lift all restrictions to get our country back on track; albeit a closed economy with little inward tourism' he said.
"I have asked the Covid Dáil Committee to invite Dr Sam McConkey and others who are leading this campaign to give a presentation on crushing the curve so that we can at least consider what is involved and how it might be achieved in an Irish context. We can only look on with envy at New Zealand but this is a different set of circumstances here and it's important to at least explore the possibilities and challenges," concluded Deputy Noonan.