Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has cautioned the government on seeking excessive powers to deal with Covid. He said “if the government need to coerce they are already losing”.
“This government have already been given unprecedented powers and authority to deal with the outbreak of Covid-19. The government has been afforded unprecedented powers to restrict the movements, travel, and behaviours of the Irish people”.
“Now the government seek legislation to allow harsher sanctions including a one year jail term and fines in the thousands for offences such as failing to serve a €9 meal with a pint. Powers are sought to allow Gardaí close pubs for a number of days depending on their level of non-compliance”.
“These draconian measures are to be levied against pubs in counties that, thankfully, have seen little or no Covid cases in weeks. We have this bizarre situation where a pub owner in Leitrim could have a jail sentence and thousands of euro fine for serving a pint in a county that has not seen a Covid case in a month. Next door a café can serve a coffee in exactly the same manner”.
“Coercion is only necessary when you lose people. Irish people are tired and frustrated but they will stick the course if they are treated fairly. Pubs are being put to the sword by the government with inadequate financial support, inordinately high level of restrictions and now over the top sanctions. The €16 million package for pubs is an insult. It is the equivalent of trying to fix a punctured watermain with a plaster”.
“People will judge these severe restrictions in the context of hundreds of thousands of travellers from non-Green list countries arriving in the country practically unrestricted and the complete mismanagement of the Nursing Home, Direct Provision and Meat Factor sectors”.
As Ireland’s infection rate worsens, comparatively, in European terms many people feel that the severity of restrictions is inversely proportioned to government competency.