Micheál Martin: There is no scientific basis for travel restrictions

Micheál Martin: There is no scientific basis for travel restrictions

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has said there is no scientific basis to the 20km rule under the next phase of the Government's roadmap.

Under the current restrictions, people are allowed to travel within 5km of their home unless they are making an essential journey.

Under the next phase of the Government's roadmap to easing restrictions, this is set to be increased to 20km on June 29.

Speaking in the Dail today, Mr Martin questioned the scientific basis for such restrictions.

"The 20km rule which is envisaged to replace the 5km rule...I don't see a logic to it and I don't see any scientific basis to it.

"I think we need to deal with it more expeditiously."

"The evidence is that there remains a broad and strong compliance amongst the public when it comes to measures they have been told are essential.

"Eighty percent are staying home and few in urban areas are moving more than five kilometres from their homes."

He also said "there is no remaining serious justification" for the five kilometre limit for people leaving their homes.

"The public health concern is how people behave around others, not how far they are from their home," he said.

"In fact, the research shows that this limit may in fact be forcing people in urban areas into more crowded situations."

Mr Martin questioned why some types of shops have been allowed to re-open.

"Equally the current distinctions between different types of shop are at best arbitrary.

"Supermarkets have been open throughout the pandemic while implementing measures about distancing and hygiene.

"The figures on community spread suggest that the supermarkets have not played a role in spreading the virus, where the overwhelming issue is clustering in health facilities, nursing homes and some workplaces like meat factories.

"In general, the overriding need now is to move to a situation where the focus is put on showing people how to behave once most activity is restored."

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