Local lockdowns still an ‘option’ as groups gather in sunny weather

Local Lockdowns Still An ‘Option’ As Groups Gather In Sunny Weather
Met Éireann has issued a Status Orange high temperature warning, for the first time ever, for counties Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath and south Leitrim. File photo: PA
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Local lockdowns may be used if there are spikes of Covid cases or localised concerns around the Indian variant of the disease, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said, as he expressed concern about large crowds gathering in Dublin on Saturday.

The Fine Gael leader said that while there have been “mixed results” to such lockdowns in the past, the Government is retaining the option to use them should they be needed in the coming months.


“Local lockdowns to local restrictions are a policy option, they’re there in the Government’s plan. They are a policy option if we have an outbreak in a particular area. But we’ve had mixed results with them in the past unfortunately, the one in Kildare and the Midlands worked, others didn’t really,” he said.

“The country is so small and people travel so much within Ireland, local lockdowns probably aren’t as effective as they might be in other countries, but it is an option should we need to use it.”

Large crowds

Mr Varadkar also said he shared the concerns of the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan about large crowds gathering in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.

He warned that something similar could happen during the upcoming bank holiday weekend if the weather is good.


People have flocked outdoors to parks, beaches and city streets to enjoy the sunshine over recent days after weeks stuck indoors due to a combination of heavy downpours and Covid restrictions.

Brian Cunningham dives into the sea at the Vico bathing place, Co Dublin. Warm weather is set to continue into next week. Photo:PA

Mr Varadkar said: “It is very disappointing that we witnessed the scenes that we saw in Dublin yesterday. We are encouraging people to get outdoors, and it’s much safer to be outdoors than indoors. But the rules still apply.

“People shouldn’t be meeting up in groups of more than three households and should try to observe social distancing. We would certainly share the CMO’s [chief medical officer's] concerns in relation to that,” he said.


“But I would say, on June 7th, we will see outdoor hospitality reopening. And I think what we’re going to see on our streets is something a bit more organised because pubs and bars and restaurants will be able to open their doors, so that’s a positive move.”

The Tánaiste, speaking to The Irish Times and other media on Sunday afternoon, said there was a role for gardaí to play and also for the city council.

Rubbish left behind

Enjoy while it lasts: Sunny weather to continue ne...
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Dublin City Council called for the public and businesses to “act responsibly” after rubbish was left on streets following large gatherings on Saturday evening.

The council said gatherings of the size seen in parts of Dublin city centre are “contrary to current public health regulations”, but added: “These gatherings are not planned events and as such Dublin City Council has very few powers to deal with them.”

Meanwhile, a further 374 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were notified in the Republic on Sunday.

The latest figures also revealed there were 99 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 35 are in intensive care.

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