Mixed messages from the government about lockdown are further adding to people’s distress as the 2021 lockdown continues, Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú.
The Sinn Féin TD laid blame squarely at the door of the government parties as new figures show that the rate of Covid-19 continues to fall.
The 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 in Louth is 286.3 per 100,000, while the State rate is 243.
There have been 369 new cases in Louth in the 14 days prior to February 20 and Louth is now the sixth worst county in the State for the virus.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: "While the numbers continue to fall in Louth, thanks to the effort of everyone playing their part, the numbers overall are higher than we would like them to be.
"This may be down to the increased transmissibility of the new variants of the virus.
"But the government parties seem to be in competition with each other to be the first out with the news regarding the lockdown.
"People need to be informed properly and the data and information grounding the announcements need to be explained.
"Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil rushing out to be the first with the updates so their coalition partners aren’t is not doing public confidence any good.
"They are saying different things at different times to different people and it ends up that no-one really knows for sure what the plans are or how long the lockdown is going to last.
"This lockdown is extremely difficult for everyone.
"It will soon be a year since the first lockdown and that psychologically is very hard for people to take."
But the Dundalk TD said he was ‘hopeful’ as the vaccination roll-out continues to ramp up, with a further 20,000 more doses to be given in the coming week, compared to the previous week.
This would bring the total number scheduled vaccinations to 100,000 this week.
He said: "The news of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is very welcome and it will mean more supplies that will lead to more people will get vaccinated quicker and more easily.
"I welcome the projections that the vaccines will be delivered at the rate of one million a month for April, May and June and we need to ensure that we have the capacity and infrastructure to deal with this.
"There is updated information this week that some of those with underlying health conditions such as heart problems, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses, will be moved up the sequence for vaccination.
"While we wait for that, all efforts should be made to bolster and improve the test, trace and isolate systems and to develop a far better cross border information sharing system.
"It is only this coming week that the Dáil will deal with legislation regarding hotel quarantine, something that should have been done a long time ago.
"If all this is done correctly, then there will be greater choices for government in relation to lifting restrictions."