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Prof Luke O’Neill: The stakes couldn’t be higher at this stage of the pandemic, but can the Taoiseach bring us all together again?

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Taoiseach Michael Martin. Picture: PA

Taoiseach Michael Martin. Picture: PA

PA

Taoiseach Michael Martin. Picture: PA

Covid-19 is now out of control in Ireland.

This weekend the leaders of the three coalition parties have been in lockdown with Tony Holohan and Ronan Glynn. Once they have deliberated, the Cabinet will join them, and a decision will be forthcoming from the Taoiseach on what the country should do next when it comes to Covid-19. This will be the most important decision the Taoiseach has had to make during his tenure, and possibly one of the most important decisions that any government has had to make in recent times.

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at  Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

The stakes couldn’t be higher at this stage of the pandemic. Get it wrong in one direction – meaning going to Level 5- and people might suffer and die because of economic and mental health consequences. Get it wrong in another direction – meaning not going far enough with restrictions- and people might suffer and die for other reasons – Covid-19, leading to more deaths or more long haulers with debilitating symptoms.