Copy of the research paper submitted by TD Marc MacSharry to the Taoiseach seeking a return to Level 2 restrictions in October

A Fianna Fáil TD sent a research paper to the Taoiseach calling for Level-2 restrictions on a day when the Department of Health announced more than 1,000 Covid-19 infections.

Marc MacSharry said in the report that the virus was not “indiscriminate” and was mostly impacting older people and those with pre-existing conditions.

He said this rendered “a forced closure for younger, otherwise healthy individuals questionable” and suggested there was little evidence to support the idea restaurants and pubs were responsible for spread of the disease.

The Department of the Taoiseach initially refused to release the report saying it was sent on a “strictly confidential” basis.

They had said release of the research would make it less likely that other TDs and Senators would send information to the Taoiseach in future.

The case was appealed by Right to Know to the Information Commissioner and the Department relented and allowed release of the paper.

Marc MacSharry said the report was sent at a “point in time” before there was awareness of Covid-19 variants and that his views had changed over Christmas.

He said: “At the time, we were not developing any sort of strategy of trying to live with it. You try to make suggestions; society is suffering – is there any way to develop a strategy?

“From the beginning, I’ve been critical of our management [of this]. I don’t want to be put anybody in danger and my views would have changed over Christmas.

“You try to make suggestions and offer solutions; they’re not always acted upon, you’re not always right.”