Attached is a pdf of an extraction I have made from all of the death notices published in RIP.ie for the months of November and December giving a comparison between the figures between 2020 and 2021. This consists of five pages with figures for two-day intervals together with accompanying graphs.
These are “all notices” so do not translate directly to death numbers, as some notices for individuals will appear more than once. However, as the proportion of “double notices” is unlikely to vary from year to year the proportionate increase in notices should correspond reasonably accurately to an increase in total all-cause deaths in the country during that period.
RIP.ie is accepted by the CSO as giving accurate assessments and is frequently used by them in making preliminary estimates. The graphs show very few two-day periods with a decrease and many with substantial increases. CSO mortality figures are very late, and the last figures are for the second quarter of the year.
The attached indicates an overall increase for the two-month period of 18.65 %. If this were annualised, it would translate to an excess death rate of some 5,700 persons in 2021. However, there did appear to be a reduction in deaths during the second quarter of 2021 (CSO figures) following a spike in the first quarter which many attributed to the vaccine rollout in the nursing homes, so that figure of over 5,000 is unlikely to be accurate.
However, this raw data does suggest a very substantial death increase for 2021 which requires investigation. This increase in the number of deaths compares to an insignificant increase in death numbers for the year 2020 compared to the previous five-year average, albeit that 2020 was the year Covid was at its most active.
The death spike for 2021 suggested by these figures, let us say conservatively 4,000 persons, could be due to a number of factors. It could be Covid, but nothing like that figure has been claimed for Covid in 2021, and Covid deaths in elderly people have simply replaced normal flu and pneumonia deaths in that age group. It could be suicide induced by lockdown, but the figures for suicide suggest an excess of some 190 over previous years. It could be due to late assessment of cancers, due again to the lockdown, but the likelihood is that we will not know the full effect of that public health response until next year. It could be due to the adverse effects of the vaccine rollout. Or there could be an entirely different explanation.
It is unlikely that senior members of government are not aware of these figures, though they are unlikely to receive official comment until they have been verified by the CSO, which probably will not happen for several months. At that time, we can expect all kinds of explanations to be floated, though unless there is an investigation carried out independently of those responsible for public health policy over the last two years we are unlikely to get a satisfactory answer as to the real reason.
Any comments would oblige.
Michael Leahy, Chairman, IFP