Aontú Cllr for Meath, Emer Tóibín, has asked how the government can expect the people to consent to more lockdowns and restrictions, when there is no plan in place to steer the country through the current crisis, or at least one the people have confidence in.

Cllr Tóibín:

“There is no doubt about it, the government is losing the room. The case numbers are increasing. Some people are doing their own thing and normal life for many is resuming, in as much as is possible, under the radar. This is what happens when logic, consistency and common sense fall by the way side and wax and wane alongside government regulation and policy (remember the €10 euro meal with the pint). Despite how the government has treated us, we are not stupid. Compliance has taken a major hit because many people can’t make sense of some of the regulations any more. The obvious things that should have been done at the start were disputed at length and now under pressure from opposition parties, the government has finally agreed to mandatory quarantining. Whether it’s untimely enforcement will have the desired affect at this late stage remains to be seen.”

“The level of sacrifice for many have been colossal. All that time, 12 full months of it, can never be recovered. People are suffering so much for the last year and on many fronts it can appear that the government is oblivious to it. Certainly many TDs seem utterly oblivious to its harmful affects on certain sections of society. That a token gesture to take a temporary cut in salary was not even entertained – an outstretched hard in solidarity with the very people whose daily lives were turned upside down by virtue of those decisions. A missed opportunity to show unity and support with the people. For many people out there, there is no more petrol in the tank. No more deprivation, anxiety and isolation can be foisted on them. Fear-inducing governance can achieve compliance for a certain timeframe but for many, it prompts eventual dissent and rebellion. The long-awaited exit plan has still not been presented and resistance is growing. Monday April 5th, nearly 2 weeks away, is just too long away in the current climate of needing solid answers. #Weneedaplan of what is going to happen and when. People want to know this week what is the route out of lockdowns so that come April there is a clear, defined, and obvious roadmap of what is ahead of us.”

“Nobody is doubting that the elderly and vulnerable groups still need serious prioritisation and that the entire public health system a massive overhaul. Its current manifestation has nearly brought the country to a standstill and highlighted the fact that years of underfunding and mismanagement has cost us dearly as a nation. We have paid huge money to compensate for an inadequate health system and we are no further on. The bill to bring it in line with EU standards and resourcing still awaits us. But for now the focus is on the need for a plan. In line with many of our European counterparts, an reopening of society must form part of the current narrative. People are already moving and planning, living and hoping. To get back on track. To get back to their families. To get back to their livelihoods. Indecision or delayed decision-making is the last thing anyone needs in an unprecedented time like this. Ireland’s lockdown has been excessive by comparison with any other country. And I’m not talking just about the 180+ days of it. Death rate, economic hit, personal sacrifice, mental health, bereavement, youth unemployment, financial loss, personal trauma, marriage break-up, and on and on, never mind the unknowns ahead. We need a workable plan – underpinned by proportionality and delivered promptly.”