The Taoiseach is to seek advice from the chief medical officer over “concerns” around a spike in the number of deaths in recent weeks.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil an increase in the number of excess deaths “probably relates” to the fact that RSV, influenza, and Covid are all circulating at the moment, but he will be asking the CMO Professor Breda Smyth to examine the issue.
It comes after it was revealed that an increase in deaths has disrupted funeral arrangements and put mortuaries under unprecedented stress.
Analysis of death notices on the website rip.ie shows there were 9,718 published in the eight-week period from December 1st, 2022 to January 25th, 2023 — up 20 per cent from 8,075 in the same period a year earlier.
Mr Varadkar told the Dáil: “I am aware that in Ireland and in a lot of countries there has been a significant increase in excess deaths this winter, even more so than was the case during the pandemic, or at least during the lockdowns. That is a matter of concern.
“I am going to seek the advice and opinion of the Chief Medical Officer on it.
“It probably relates to the fact that RSV, influenza, and Covid are all circulating at the moment, against the backdrop of reduced immunity because people were socially distancing during the lockdowns, and also because there was a lot of unmet health need during the lockdowns which is now coming back at us.
“That is just my impression.”