A CORK Fianna Fáil TD has lashed out at the decision by the National Public Health Emergency Team yesterday to recommend level 5 restrictions.
East Cork TD James O'Connor said the recommendation is too extreme, and should not have been made by NPHET on a Sunday, considering that the Cabinet was not due to meet until tomorrow.
However, a special cabinet meeting is now being held later today.
And this afternoon, the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin; Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, and leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, are meeting with the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, who returned to his position yesterday after taking time off for family reasons.
This morning, Deputy O'Connor toldthat he acknowledges the rise in hospital admissions with Covid-19.
But he said: "There needs to be time for businesses to prepare for level 5 restrictions. I have hotels, florists and other business owners on to me this morning and late last night asking about what is going to be in place."
He continued: "This should not have happened on a Sunday - what happened was wrong. Cabinet should be sitting immediately after a NPHET meeting."
And Deputy O'Connor said it is "inappropriate" for government party TDs to hear about the recommendation through the media.
He also said that Ireland needs to learn how to live with the virus.
Fine Gael's Senator Tim Lombard said the recommendation last night has led to panic this morning with the general public, as well as businesses.
He said: "Nobody contemplated level 5 restrictions."
He continued: "11 of Ireland's 26 counties have infection rates below 70. 70 is the level at which Kildare, Laois and Offaly went into the first local lockdown (equivalent to Level 3). Putting these 11 counties from Level 2 to Level 5 (or even Level 4) would be scandalous."
He acknowledged however that the number of cases in Ireland is quite stark, but added that Northern Ireland is an added problem for the Republic because of the spiralling numbers there.