Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said "I think the Government should be straight with the people of Dublin" in response to the medium-term Living with Covid-19 plan that was published today.
The six to nine-month plan involves a risk-ranking system, from a lowest risk level of one to the highest full lockdown level five.
However, new measures are being introduced in Dublin from midnight, including restrictions on household gatherings, while pubs in the capital that do not serve food will not reopen next week.
The reopening of pubs in other parts of the country will go ahead as planned on 21 September.
Speaking on RTÉ's Six One programme this evening, Ms McDonald said that clearly there is a particular problem in the capital and the number of cases is surging.
"If it is a thing that we need additional measures for the city that just needs to be said out loud," she said.
"I think the Government should be straight with the people of Dublin", Sinn Féin leader @MaryLouMcDonald tells RTÉ News. "If it is a thing that we need additional measures for the city that just needs to be said out loud." | Live blog: https://t.co/OkdLRsWmQG pic.twitter.com/DjfsL0OIOi— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 15, 2020
But, she said, it needs to be made clear for how long these measures would be in place.
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Ms McDonald said the central plank that is crucial to managing the public health crisis is testing and tracing and, she said it was missing from the Government's plan.
She said we have been hearing for months that 100,000 tests would be carried out a week but this is not happening.
She said that anyone that examined the Covid tracker app over the last seven days would see that nowhere near 100,000 tests are being carried out.
Ms McDonald said that in the absence of this being sorted out, the Government runs the risk of lapsing in and out of additional measures and lockdown with all of the chaos and hardship and economic consequences that this would have.
Country needs clarity on plan, says Labour leader
In the Dáil this afternoon, Labour leader Alan Kelly told the Taoiseach that the country needs clarity after today's plan was announced.
He said it was a very important day that "we were all waiting for", but he said there is an inherent contradiction in today's plan.
"This isn't a five point plan, this a five-and-a-half point plan," he said.
Mr Kelly said everyone needs to be treated equally - "we can't have a situation where if Dublin 'behaves properly' they get a yellow card".
He said Labour supports five phases but he said "5.5 phases is not the right thing to do".
The Taoiseach said "there's no big deal here" in terms of Dublin. He said NPHET gave advice on Dublin and the modification is only about 'wet' pubs and attendance at matches.
Micheál Martin said the Government did not get advice to move to Level 3 and that NPHET could give other advice on Thursday about that.
He said the advice is clear about people in Dublin travelling outside to the rest of the country, as people are encouraged not to travel outside the capital.
Róisín Shortall, co-leader for the Social Democrats said: "The new plan was supposed to provide clarity about the five different levels of risk, yet on the first day of the announcement this was muddied by having Dublin at 'level two and a bit'.
"For the Dublin area, where the rates of Covid-19 are growing rapidly, there was little clarity provided by the Government in respect of additional restrictions necessary and people are largely left to scramble for basic information."
Social Democrats co-leader @RoisinShortall says the Government message on #Covid19 is confused and extremely confusing to the public. She says people want "clear advice and coherence from Government and they certainly didn't get that this morning" | https://t.co/OZTvlcJHIh pic.twitter.com/C3llJz3VCP— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 15, 2020
Sinn Féin's health spokesperson described the Government's plan as "incoherent".
Speaking to RTÉ News, David Cullinane said the plan is confusing and appears to leave Dublin in "limbo of between level 2 and 3".
The Waterford TD said without a rapid testing and tracing capacity the Government's plan "is not worth the paper it is written on".
"There was a 30-minute press conference and only a passing reference to testing and tracing," he said.
The plan is not easily explainable, Mr Cullinane said, "at a time when absolute clarity is needed".
Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has welcomed plans to allow supporters return to sporting events, saying 'people need to be able to live here with this virus' | Follow live updates: https://t.co/BnPgAzVvVh pic.twitter.com/xu7f2KZvr3— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 15, 2020
Mr Cullinane's criticisms were echoed by Labour's Ged Nash. The Louth TD there was no clarity given by the Government in its announcement today.
He said that there is "absolute confusion about what's happening in Dublin".
Labour TD Ged Nash has said people were expecting 'clarity' from the Govt announcement today but 'instead we've got confusion', with a Level 2.5 created for Dublin 'on the hoof' | Follow live updates: https://t.co/BnPgAzVvVh pic.twitter.com/MhP7fR0sCZ— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 15, 2020