"An Urgent Meeting of Party Leaders Must be Convened this Week" - Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called for an urgent meeting of all party leaders to discuss issues of vaccine supply, the recent meeting between the Taoiseach and the US president and the unfolding situation regarding the Garda investigation into the Tánaiste's leaking of a confidential document. Deputy Tóibín said:
"We in Aontú believe that a meeting of party leaders must be convened as soon as possible. is onto something here. It is clear that the Government are “at sea” when it comes to fighting Covid and the roll out of the Vaccine. The Táiniste is now focused on Garda Criminal Investigation. The Taoiseach and the Minister for health are missing every Vaccine Delivery objective. The democratic process is stalled with the Dáil operating at half capacity. As the public representatives of the people we need to work together to fix this crisis."
"In recent days it has emerged that the Gardaí are sending a file to the DPP in relation to Leo Varadkar's leaking of a confidential government document. It is also phenomenal to think that the Taoiseach, the leader of a government crumbling under pressure on lockdowns and the slow pace of vaccine rollout, yesterday met with the president of the USA and, it seems, did not bother to ask him to assist us in vaccine supplies and rollout. For these reasons we believe that an urgent meeting of all party leaders must be convened in the coming days".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "Despite all that has happened in the past few days the Dáil remains closed today. The Covid-19 pandemic is not a valid excuse for the suspension of democracy. We haven't had a meeting of the party leaders in quite some time. The Taoiseach cannot continue to snub the opposition, while maintaining the pretense that we're all in this together. If we are truly all in this together then the Taoiseach must meet with opposition leaders and update us on the events of the past week. It is shocking that the Taoiseach refuses to give a straight answer as to whether or not he asked President Biden for vaccines. This is the man who ran an anti-spin campaign in advance of the last general election, and yet all he and his government can offer us now is mixed-messaging, spin, confusion and lazy rhetoric".
"We've been in and out of lockdown now for the guts of a year, the people cannot take much more. We need to vaccinate the vulnerable and begin to open up. I would implore the Taoiseach to engage with the opposition constructively regarding an exit plan. The issue of the Leo Varadkar Garda investigation is of significance too - and the Taoiseach's defence of the Fine Gael leader is very frustrating for many people, especially people in Fianna Fáil who've witnessed how the Taoiseach treated Dara Calleary and Barry Cowen in the early days of this government.