Dublin residents ‘left hanging in limbo’ by virus restrictions uncertainty

Dublin residents have been left hanging in a “cruel limbo” by uncertainty around coronavirus restrictions, opposition leaders said.

People’s jobs are in the balance, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said.

She said the “shambles” of the Dail’s adjournment following health minister Stephen Donnelly’s illness had compounded that sense of uncertainty.

She told the Taoiseach: “People have lost confidence in your Government’s handling of this emergency, not least in Dublin where you have left people hanging in a very cruel limbo.

“People are beside themselves, people whose jobs are hanging in the balance.”

Micheal Martin said the Opposition leader knew what the advice was around preventing the spread of coronavirus in Dublin, including encouraging people not to leave the capital.

He said: “You are doing a disservice to the work of the HSE.

“Your entire approach to all of this is not to seek clarity, not to amplify public health measures but to undermine them.”

The Government has published its medium term road map for living with coronavirus.

Ministers recommended that people living in the capital should not travel outside the county to combat the soaring spread of disease there.

There is a “strong possibility” severe restrictions could be enforced in the capital by the end of the week, according to the finance minister.

Paschal Donohoe warned the city could move to level three of the Government’s new blueprint plan to deal with Covid-19, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

It was confirmed on Tuesday night that Mr Donnelly had tested negative for Covid-19.

He reported feeling unwell earlier on Tuesday and announced he was being tested.

This resulted in other members of the Cabinet restricting their movements as a precaution.

Ms McDonald said the reaction was a shambles.

“The public were left with a real sense of unease, seeing Cabinet unable to work and the Dail suspended,” she said.

Mr Martin defended his Government’s response.

“Everyone acted in good faith,” he said.

“It was a precautionary motivation to try and prevent risk.

“There is no big mystery to it.”

Meanwhile, families whose loved ones died in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic cannot grieve until they get answers about their final days, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

Brigid Doherty, a member of the expert panel on nursing homes, said the “lack” of information about residents’ deaths has been frustrating for families.

She told the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response that there is a “huge gap” in information on how care was provided in the final weeks and days of care home residents’ lives.

Ms Doherty warned that the huge issue will have implications for the grieving process.