INDEPENDENT TD Michael McNamara has said that cocooning has seen over-70s become "prisoners" in their own homes and claimed it "may ultimately kill as many as the Covid-19 virus."
The Clare TD accused the government of "endlessly whipping up fear" in the age group and said that there is no legal restrictions requiring over-70s to stay at home.
He said the advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Tony Holohan is to 'cocoon' "but that is just advice, not the law of this State".
He made the remarks in a series of Tweets this morning where he argued that whether someone heeds medical advice or not is a matter for the individual themselves.
Speaking to Independent.ie he said he feared deaths among older people resulting from the mental health pressures of cocooning as well as poor diets and a lack of exercise.
And he branded as "ludicrous" speculation in recent days that an easing of restrictions for the over-70s could involved allowing them to exercise outside for specify times during the day.
He said he's not encouraging older people to be "reckless" and said he would urge everyone from seven-year-olds to the over-70s to take precautions if they're leaving their home.
Earlier Mr McNamara said on Twitter that many older people "have become prisoners in their own home". He blamed inaccurate media reports and what he claimed was the "the government policy of endlessly whipping up fear in over-70s which seems to me may ultimately kill as many as the Covid-19 virus.
"Life is to be lived to the end," he added.
Mr McNamara also said whether a person "adheres to the CMO's recommendations on cocooning, his or his Department's advice on smoking, on drinking alcohol, on safe sex etc, are surely all choices for that person."
A government spokesman said: "There will be further guidance later this afternoon.
"Any recommendations given regarding cocooning are solely on the basis of public health advice."
Mr McNamara told Independent.ie that he's concerned cocooning is "having a huge impact on mental health" and it could lead to suicides.
He added that other health issues could also lead to deaths saying: "People who are depressed often eat badly" and the over-70s may not be getting exercise due to staying at home.