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Dáil should be recalled to debate radical new restriction" - Tóibín

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has said that the Dáil should be recalled tomorrow to debate the new restrictions. He was speaking after plans were revealed to increase restrictions radically from Christmas eve.

Deputy Tóibín said: "the democratic process is another casualty in a long list of Covid. Its incredible that Ireland will have some of the strictest restrictions in the world imposed over the next few days and most TDs heard about them via twitter. Instead of seeking to live safely with this illness with proportionate restrictions the government has chosen to swing wildly from one extreme to another. The erratic nature of the government restrictions has made it impossible for a whole section of society to function. I am very concerned with the contradictory and confusing communication from cabinet and NPHET. Its wiping out thousands of small businesses”.

“The constant chopping and changing from the government has huge implications for many people - you could be on a bus to the airport and suddenly the guidelines change without warning. Take the thousands of pubs, café’s and restaurants. They have had a really tough year. They have just reopened and restocked, contacted all your staff and told them to come into work, and then with the click of a tweet from NPHET they learn they have to close up again, let go their staff and watch as mould grows on all the food you've just purchased".

"There is absolutely no debate happening in these draconian times and that's a serious mistake. There is no discussion on the massive health costs that are accumulating due to lockdowns. There is little discussion on the missed cancers, heart disease, stroke and mental ill-health. There is no discussion on the billions of euro of debt that is accumulating or the years of austerity that are on the horizon to pay for this. The government and the media are operating in a bubble and the 1/3 of Irish society that's getting wiped out has no input. If a TD seeks to ask Nphet a question we have to ask a journalist to ask it for us. It’s a crazy situation".

"It is my firm belief that every single TD elected to the Dáil should be permitted to give input into the debate about the new restrictions. We have a mandate to debate issues and raise concerns, and we also have a depth of insight into how our constituents are feeling.

Deputy Tóibín continued: "We were told to obey the 6 week lockdown so society could open up for Christmas yet new restrictions are now starting before Christmas itself. There is no discussion on the fact that compliance is falling during each lockdown and that the reductions in the incidence of Covid was far lower during the last lockdown than predicted by the government and Nphet. There is no discussion as to why Ireland has chosen a strategy that is an outlier in terms of severity or why we have deviated from the WHO advice only to lockdown if there is a threat that the Health Service is going to be overwhelmed.

By Aontú Press | 31 December, 2020

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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.