Calls for Ireland to re-adopt local lockdowns and drop nationwide Level 5 restrictions
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Calls for Ireland to re-adopt local lockdowns and drop nationwide Level 5 restrictions

THE IRISH Government has been urged to drop a blanket approach to lockdown and revert to a more localised county-by-county system, akin to the one used in the latter half of last year.

With the April 5 review date fast approaching, official figures show that Covid-19 is thriving in some counties but has almost been completely neutralised in others.

Infection rates in places like Dublin, Offaly, Longford and Kildare are very high, while rates in the likes of Cork, Kerry and Clare are extremely low.

Many are now arguing that a nationwide lockdown is not only unfair, but also inefficient and impractical.

Independent TD Michael Collins said counties with low infection rates should be rewarded for achieving and maintaining those levels of infection.

He argued that the 5km travel limit - which if reports are to be believed will not be lifted on April 5 despite the government initially pledging that it would be - should be eased at the very least in these counties because it is "far too severe" for those living in rural areas.

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"I think the restrictions should apply countywide and that strict restrictions should not apply where there is little or no Covid cases," Mr Collins said.

"We have to open the country at some stage and there is an opportunity in early April for the Taoiseach to make a decision to allow counties with low levels of infection to reopen and other counties with high rates to continue with restrictions until the numbers fall in those counties."

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns agreed, arguing that a regional approach to lockdown makes the most sense as the vaccine rollout picks up speed.

"We saw how regional approaches were taken over the summer, and the approaches that recognise 5km in Dublin or Cork City is very different to 5km in Beara or on the Mizen," she said.

"It would be encouraging and useful for people if they had a number that we were all working towards that would see an easing of restrictions in our area. Instead, the Government is just giving people arbitrary dates and leaks of information."