TD says she doesn't know what Tony Holohan "expected to see" as large crowds gathered in Dublin City Centre 3 months ago

TD says she doesn't know what Tony Holohan "expected to see" as large crowds gathered in Dublin City Centre

"I think we need to be somewhat more cautious, but we most certainly need systems in place that do not include lockdown."

Independent TD Verona Murphy has said that she doesn't know what Tony Holohan "expected to see" as large crowds gathered in Dublin City Centre on Saturday evening.

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Speaking on This Week in Politics the Wexford TD said that she wants to see the Government put "other systems" in place instead of lockdowns if further waves of the Covid-19 virus hit the country.

"Well, let me just say on the basis of what we saw last night, I don't think anybody would condone the scenes from last night. But, I should also say that I'm surprised at Tony Holohan's reaction because I don't know what he expected to see after we have endured the longest lockdown within the EU," she said.

"I mean, we can't continue with the only measure to deal with this virus as lockdown, and I want to see from Government and from NPHET, the systems that have been put in place that should we have a fourth wave, a fifth wave, a sixth wave, how we propose to deal with it - because, other countries have not endured the lockdowns that we have so I'm not surprised to see the scenes in Dublin.

"I think we need to be somewhat more cautious, but we most certainly need systems in place that do not include lockdown. Scientists have said that for the future we may be dealing with other variants, this virus mutates, we may have several variants, we may even have new viruses.

"I have to see from Government what they have learned and what systems can be put in place other than lockdown because we can't afford it socially, we can't afford it economically and we need to see that we have a plan that helps us to live with Covid."

Donegal TD and Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue said that lockdowns have been a "very central part" of life in many countries not just Ireland over the past year.

"I wouldn't agree with Verona, if you look at across Europe, unfortunately, lockdowns and restrictions have been a very central part of everyone's life and every country over the past number of months," he replied.

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McConalogue added that there are areas like Brussells that are still on curfew and have experienced longer lockdowns than Ireland.

The Minister said that the Government is taking a "graduated approach" to lifting restrictions in order to prevent further lockdowns.

A policing operation was put in place by Gardaí following reports of a large number of persons congregating at South William Street and adjoining streets in the Dublin 2 area on the evening of Saturday, 29 May.

The operation involved Gardaí from the Public Order Unit and the Dog Unit and the crowd was subsequently dispersed. Four persons were arrested for public order offences.

Persons congregating in Temple Bar and St Stephen's Green were also dispersed by Gardaí. No arrests were made.

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Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan said he is "absolutely shocked" after what he described as a "major open air party" occurred in Dublin City Centre.

Dr Holohan said he saw "enormous crowds" while driving past the centre to collect someone from work at approximately 8:15 pm on Saturday evening.

The CMO added that the scenes are "what we do not need when we have made so much progress".

Taking to Twitter on Saturday night the CMO wrote: "Drove into Dublin City Centre to collect someone from work at 815 PM. Absolutely shocked at scenes in South Great George’s St, Exchequer St, South William St area.

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"Enormous crowds- like a major open air party. This is what we do not need when we have made so much progress."