Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said that there has not been an instruction for the public not to visit Dublin, but he advised people that if they did not need to travel to Dublin they should not do so.

The Government decision for the people of Dublin was that they should limit travel outside the city and county, so the logic was that people should not come into Dublin he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

The hospitality industry in Dublin remained open, the city remained open for business, but the Government was asking people to be cautious, he added. People had to use their judgement.

The Cabinet will not shirk from making public health decisions that will be unpopular, said Mr McGrath. There was “a distinct possibility” that Dublin will move to Level 3 by this weekend.

The Government needed to be adaptable and agile in its response. “This is difficult, none of this is easy, we’re all weary.” The Minister called on the public “to bear with us, we all know the consequences if we don’t.”

Mr McGrath said that the decision the Government had made on Dublin mirrored exactly what NPHET had recommended. “This is messy, we’re into nuance and detail here. But I don’t accept the hyperbole and exaggeration from certain opposition voices in the past 24 hours.” A lot of the reaction had been over the top, he said.

The Government had not asked for the Dáil to be adjourned for a week, that had been “excessive caution” and had gone beyond public health advice. The adjournment was unnecessary, but had been rectified quickly. “It was better than under-reacting.”

Asked about the mixed messages from the Minister for Health on Tuesday who had said in an interview on RTÉ’s News at One that travel out of Dublin was allowed, Mr McGrath said “the Minister had a difficult day yesterday,” the public was “well capable” of understanding the message about restrictions in Dublin, he said.

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