County By County


Number of death notices posted on in April 2020; tweets from Gerard McCarthy and Pádraig MacCarron


Gerard McCarthy, of Maynooth University and Pádraig MacCarron, of University of Limerick published their research after they looked at the number of death notices posted per county on in April 2020.

Mr MacCarron spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier and told how they found that there were more death notices for Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan than any month over the past ten years in those counties.

In comparison, Kilkenny‘s death notices were about the same as April 2019.

Speaking about the accuracy of the figures, he said that the number of death notices posted on match up with figures from the Central Statistics Office death and mortality data.

Asked if the increase in death notices in certain counties can be “put down purely to Covid”, Mr MacCarron told Morning Ireland:

“Yeah, it seems to be. The mean number of deaths in April for the last ten years is about 2,500. And the official numbers give about 1,200 people died [of Covid] in April. So if you add those together, there’s only 60 extra deaths. And our death notices posted on compared to the average plus the number of deaths from Covid.

“And in fact if you add up the number of deaths from Covid to last year’s number of death notices, that would be about 100 higher than it is now. So it seems like the official numbers are quite representative and that’s the main cause of this excess.”

Listen back in full here


Meanwhile, on RTÉ’s Brainstorm, they write:

Nationally, the number of death notices posted on in April 2020 for the whole of Ireland are the highest on record, but comparable with January 2018 and 2017 when there was a bad flu season.

Typically deaths peak in Ireland in the winter are associated with respiratory diseases, including the seasonal flu. The number of death notices posted typically decreases going into April, whereas there is a spike associated with the coronavirus in 2020.

Comparing the magnitude of this spike to the seasonal peak in winter of other years, it could be argued as comparable to the numbers of death notices posted in previous years (January 2018 was the previous maximum).

There is increasingly heated debate about whether the unprecedented measures implemented to combat the spread of Covid-19 are necessary to maintain, if excess mortality is comparable to that of the seasonal flu.

However, this picture of the national situation, where Ireland could be on track to keeping mortality to that of a bad flu season, belies a more complex geography of the pandemic in Ireland.

…Looking in more detail at the map, it is the border counties of Monaghan and Cavan that are worst affected where the increase in postings in April 2020 relative to the average number of postings was 150% and 120% respectively.

What death notices tell us about the coronavirus across Ireland (RTÉ Brainstorm)

10 thoughts on “County By County

  1. Kim The Cardassian

    A glaring obvious flaw in the data representation is omitted. Country was on lockdown for April reducing the potential number of deaths, therefore for a fair comparison between previous periods is not valid.

    1. Stephen

      Do you mean potential number of non-covid related deaths?

      While that number would be reduced I don’t think it would be too significant. Most deaths in Ireland are through forms that would not be reduced via lockdown, e.g. cancer, heart attack, old age.
      There would be a reduction in the like of workplace fatalities, road deaths but they don’t account for much anyway.

  2. Fergalito

    Highest on record and/or highest for April in areas with the greatest number of cases.

    We’re looking at data in the rear view mirror as we hasten forward. It’s my understanding that because this novel virus is an unknown quantity severe caution is being exercised hence the lockdown measures etc. What data exists and is attributable to these measures stifling the number of deaths as a result of C19?

    One thing that is evident as is always the case is the din and clamour across all sides throwing statistical information (both useful and less so) pell mell, hither and tither like sh1te on a cut field. Hard to make sense of it all as a layman.

  3. Clampers Outside

    Any chance of seeing the April numbers for each year across the ten years used to generate the mean?
    If there is a natural increase or decrease trend across those years, this possible trend does not appear to have been included in calculation of the mean…. just wondering…

    1. Truth in the News

      What is the age profile for these deaths and how is the cause of death categorized

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