Michael McDowell: We must check if this Covid-19 lockdown is really necessary

Was the Government panicked into a second national coronavirus lockdown?

‘The Oireachtas is not being allowed to do its job either. There are people who want to prevent voting divisions on the basis that they cannot be safely conducted within Leinster House.’ Photograph: Getty Images

‘The Oireachtas is not being allowed to do its job either. There are people who want to prevent voting divisions on the basis that they cannot be safely conducted within Leinster House.’ Photograph: Getty Images

When the March lockdown began, planning was done to augment Ireland’s hospital capacity. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, minister for health Simon Harris and HSE CEO Paul Reid held a press conference on April 1st in a huge auditorium at the Citywest hotel complex. Posing with newly-installed beds, they announced 450 stepdown beds in the arena and 1,000 further isolation beds in the hotel complex. They said they planned similar facilities at eight other centres in the country.

“So in total being able to add over 2,000, nearly 3,000, beds, to our health service capacity…that’s in addition to the 2,000 that we managed to secure from the private hospitals,” the then taoiseach said.

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