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Covid has Shown that Ireland is Still a Petri Dish For Group Think – Tóibín

Covid has Shown that Ireland is Still a Petri Dish For Group Think – Tóibín


Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that his party Aontú is vehemently opposed to this Bill and will vote against extending the emergency powers legislation. He stated;


“I am amazed at the lack of analysis by the majority of the political and media class on Ireland’s outlier use of Lockdown during the Covid Crisis. I understand that when the health service was in danger of being overwhelmed that there is a need for restrictions to reduce Covid numbers. I also understand that Ireland was more exposed than most EU countries due to the lack of capacity in our Health Service”.


However Ireland was a significant outlier in terms of the length and severity of Lockdown. Indeed workplace closures here were a multiple of those in other EU countries with similar results in terms of mortality and morbidity. Lockdown is not a cost free exercise. It an extremely damaging tool to use. It pushes hundreds of thousands of people into poverty. It denies people homes. It denies people with Cancer, Heart Disease and Mental Ill health crucial treatment.


“For much of the last year the Dáil was bypassed by the Executive in enormous decisions that had life and death consequences. Oversight and accountability was radically reduced. Announcements were made in RTE studios with the elected representatives of the people watching as onlookers. What has been absolutely shocking is that in the main this has been done with the collaboration of most of the Opposition. PBP, the Soc Dems and Labour all jumped on the zero Covid band wagon and sought to far further than the government. If you bring these parties logic to its full conclusion Ireland would be in Level 5 lockdown for months more”.


“SF have been a massive disappointment. SF the largest party of opposition have sat on the fence for the last 4 months. There has not been a cigarette paper between FF, FG and SF for months. I believe that like the banking bail out vote SF lose their nerve when its needed. I have heard the Soc Dems complaining about the opposition being ignored. But they supported the legislation that bypassed the democratic checks and balances that should have held the government accountability”.


“Isn’t it incredible that Aontú has been the only political party in the Dáil that has provided any type of opposition during this crisis, that has sought to hold the government to account. Ireland is a petri dish for group think. It has all of the ingredients for herd mentality. A small and overly concentrated media and a careerist political class. Its absolute  amazing how little questioning, critique or challenge there has been of governments approach. Those who did question, lost their jobs, were vilified or were shut up. Its actually chilling how the establishment deals with dissent. Much of this group think was obvious during the last housing crisis and Banking crisis but I have never seen it so pervasive as during this crisis.

The majority of the vulnerable cohorts have been vaccinated. This is not January. Thankfully, the numbers of people in Hospital and ICU with Covid are extremely low”.


“I am not saying that there may not be a situation in the future where some protections will be necessary. What I am saying is that the conditions that exist now do not warrant giving the government a blank cheque on the most draconian laws.

Government Covid policy has been hammered with contradictions. Indoor dining will start in Hotels on the 2nd of June but it will be at least a month later for restaurants or pubs. There is no scientific logic to this. There is no sense at all to it. Is the government saying that a Hotel pint is kind and unassuming and that pub pints are homicidal. Are chicken goujons in a hotel peaceful and pub goujons malevolent? This is ludicrous. Open up the hospital sector together, under the same regulations.  


“Following a PQ last week the Department of Justice revealed to Aontú that there were over 40,000 people fined under this legislation since the start of the pandemic and over 65 incidents resulted in arrests. In Donegal a 'helpline' was set up through which locals could report on their neighbours for breaching restrictions. Partners of pregnant women here in Dublin are being forced to wait in hospital car parks while women are giving birth. A priest in Co Cavan was fined for saying Mass. There was also a protestant pastor in Dublin arrested. When young people gathered in Galway after the leaving cert, a Fianna Fáil Senator argued that the army should be brought in to tackle the leaving certs. Some protest were banded and others were allowed to proceed which is in itself incredible”.


“Yet the majority of people that died as a result of Covid caught it in hospital and nursing homes run or regulated by the government. Ireland was locked shut for nearly 14 months yet 56% of the people who died in Ireland caught Covid in a Nursing Homes or a Hospital, two locations either run or regulated by the government. At the start of the pandemic when nursing homes around the country voluntarily shut their doors to visitors, they were slapped on the wrist by the government and were told that its ‘not necessary’”.


“Following this there were reports that the HSE ‘intercepted’ supplies of PPE, Oxygen and staff which were designated for nursing homes. ‘Intercepted’ was the term used by then opposition health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly. Freedom of Information documents show that Simon Harris repeatedly ignored meeting requests from Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland during the emergency”.


“I want to quote something that the Minister for Health said in this house back in March last year when this original bill was at Second Stage- the then opposition spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, said: "I have concerns about the fact that there are no real sunset clauses and that the provisions can be extended for any length. I also have concerns around the breadth of the designated people who can essentially tell a citizen that he has to stay in his home".


“Where is the emergency debate to extend the nursing home TAPS support scheme - TAPS is due to run to 30th June and it is of considerable alarm that Nursing Homes Ireland has received no commitment that it will continue, despite representations to Government. I will close my contribution with a quote from the Minister for Health's statement in the Seanad yesterday - The powers we are discussing are draconian. They do not sit comfortably in any healthy democracy. That is an incredible thing to say, Minister, about legislation you are introducing”.

By Aontú Press | 28 May, 2021

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.