Varadkar to seek CMO’s advice over number of excess deaths reported in recent weeks

Taoiseach told the Dáil that he will be asking the CMO for her view on the ‘matter of concern’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will seek the opinion and advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) over the number of excess deaths reported in recent weeks.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that he will be asking the CMO, Prof Breda Smyth, for her view on the “matter of concern”.

“I am aware that in Ireland and in a lot of countries there has been a significant increase in excess deaths this winter, even more so than was the case during the pandemic, or at least during lockdowns,” Mr Varadkar said.

This comes after the Irish Examiner revealed that a spike in the number of deaths in recent weeks has put mortuaries under stress and disrupted funeral arrangements.


Speaking to the Dáil, the Taoiseach added that the increase “probably relates” to the fact that RSV, influenza and Covid are all circulating “against the backdrop of reduced immunity because people were socially distancing during the lockdowns”.

He also said that the increase may also be “because there was a lot of unmet health need during the lockdowns, which is now coming back at us”.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín raised the issue in the Dáil, calling for an investigation into the excess deaths, to which the Taoiseach agreed, saying that it “needs some further consideration”.

In the 14 days before January 23rd, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) reported 27 deaths from Covid-19.

According to the HPSC, 80 people have died of influenza since October.