Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Health
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland’s response has been guided by seven ethical principles: solidarity, fairness, minimising harm, proportionality, reciprocity, privacy and a duty to provide care. In March 2020, the Department of Health published the Ethical Framework for Decision-making in a Pandemic, setting out these principles. This Framework can be found online: .
The NPHET, in considering and making recommendations on COVID-19 restrictions, is at all times guided by these ethical principles, including proportionality.
As the Deputy will appreciate, Ireland’s epidemiological situation remains uncertain as a number of disease indicators are now static or potentially disimproving. Ireland is still experiencing high levels of infection across the country and the health service remains under pressure. Level 5 restrictive measures therefore remain in place. Any measures introduced are aimed at limiting the spread and damage of COVID-19, and are necessary to protect our key priorities of supporting and maintaining health and social care services, keeping education and childcare services open and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.
On 30March the Government announced a slight easing of restrictions from 12 April in recognition of the significant impact that the extended period of Level 5 restrictions is having on people. The focus of this slight easing of measures is on enabling more outdoor activities so as to improve the health and wellbeing of society. This move reflects the continuing focus on proportionality and reducing harm as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.