Members of Offaly County Council have called for the current lockdown of their area to be lifted. 

During an emergency meeting of the council, held remotely through Zoom, the councillors also sought an immediate meeting with the Minister for Health. 

Councillor John Clendennen also called for an apology from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly for a comment he made over the weekend on social media. 

The Fine Gael councillor was angry that Minister Donnelly made reference to 118 cases in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, and failed to point out that just one of those cases was in Co Offaly and only a further seven were in Laois. 

Cathaoirleach John Carroll, who called the meeting, said the blame for the lockdown lay squarely with the Government for allowing the situation to develop. 

Cllr Carroll called for a stimulus package from the Government for Co Offaly, a demand which was echoed by several other speakers. 

Councillors were told by the council chief executive, Anna Marie Delaney that a new tri-county group had been set up comprising of local authorities, the HSE and An Garda Síochána. 

Daily updates will be fed to the HSE's emergency response centre in the Phoenix Park. 

Cllr Sean O'Brien, an Independent representative from Tullamore, said the lockdown was a "typical response from Dublin-based decision makers" who did not understand Co Offaly. 

All of the councillors appealed to the Government to deliver extra support to the county, asking that funding be channelled towards community groups as well as businesses. 

Several council members said they feared the two-week restrictions could be extended for six weeks or even longer and while they opposed the lockdown, they called on the public to follow the advice of the health authorities.