Ireland's Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin said it is the Government's intention to hold a review or evaluation of the country's response to COVID.

“The Government has made it clear, the three parties in Government and our Programme for Government in terms of a review in relation to the pandemic, I think that’s a sensible thing to do," the Taoiseach said on Tuesday, according to RTE News.

The Taoiseach was speaking in the wake of a report from the Society of Actuaries in Ireland that found the country experienced about 1,100 excess deaths during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021.

The analysis reveals “broadly no excess mortality in 2020; however, 2021 witnessed an increase in excess mortality, signaling a more significant impact on mortality patterns during the pandemic's second year."

The report notes: "Among various possible contributing factors to the lower excess death in 2020, government-imposed restrictions stand out as one potentially significant factor."

The Taoiseach said on Tuesday: "I very much welcome the fact that today we're seeing some data being published from the Society of Actuaries that’s showing the benefit in terms of life-saving decisions that were made by the Irish Government, and, more importantly, by the people of Ireland in terms of their compliance public health advice, but it is the intention of Government to hold a review, and we expect to be in a position to finalize the terms of reference in the coming weeks."

The Tánaiste said: “I think there’s been a lot of work up in terms of evaluation of how the country did during COVID so that it will inform future responses in respect to say another pandemic or indeed another emergency.

“I think we have to learn lessons, we have to have an objective look at how we did.

“But a lot of work up has happened over the last number of months. I think it’s a matter of selecting people, someone to head up such an evaluation and take it from there.”

The report published on Tuesday was authored by members of the Society’s Demography Committee and “examines the level of excess all-cause mortality experienced in Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic, offering some insights beyond the tally of reported Covid-19 fatalities.

Excess mortality is defined as the difference between observed deaths and expected deaths.

The report focuses especially on the first two years of the pandemic - 2020 and 2021 - and examines the excess deaths "as a metric in understanding the pandemic's impact.”

The authors emphasized: “Whilst this report provides a numerical analysis of the deaths experienced in Ireland in 2020/2021, the Society is very much cognizant of the people behind these numbers and is mindful of those who suffered the loss of a loved one during this period.”

The report pointed out that recent research on the impact of Covid-19 on mortality in Ireland has been contradictory and stressed: “It is important to note that there is not one definitive approach to calculating excess mortality – mainly because, whilst observed deaths will ultimately be a matter of record (i.e. they are objective), the calculation of expected deaths is dependent on the choice of methodology (i.e., it relies on professional judgement).

"This analysis is based on a methodology that relies on past experience as a benchmark for expected deaths. As presented in this report, different past periods for estimating expected deaths result in varying levels of excess mortality.”

Earlier this year, research published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that Ireland was one of nine OECD countries to avoid excess deaths during the core pandemic years of 2020-2022.