What regime should follow the new system of COVID-19 restrictions when they reach their scheduled conclusion date on 1 December, assuming they succeed in reducing the incidence of the virus to a level which no longer threatens the hospital system? This was the issue the Government faced as the first wave subsided last June and it is now clear that the resurgence of the virus, whose second wave is exacting a high economic cost, had its origins in the decisions taken at that time.

Impressed with the fall in new cases and the declining pressure on the health system, the minority Fine Gael government, still in office pending the formation of the three-party coalition, decided to accelerate relaxation of the measures which suppressed the virus.