Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has condemned the “Haughey-esque” carry on of this government – spending lavishly while leaving parents, small businesses and low-paid workers in fear and need. Speaking in the Dáil today An Teachta Tóibín stated;

There is a significant theme crystallising around how this government is handling the Covid Crisis. It is a tale of two countries. The restrictions around Covid are hitting low paid workers far harder than any other sector. Instead of helping to reduce this impact, The government is rubbing their noses in it. Pay rises for TDs while income support cuts for hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs.

The Government is spending millions on nearly 70 Special Advisors while at the same time cutting the basic income on nearly 200,000 families across the country. Its reminiscent of the days of Charlie Hughey, when he told the country to tighten their belts while he was purchasing the Charvet Shirts.

“The government has sought to lockdown the economy, shut down schools and childcare facilities, and call on people to suspend their livelihoods or means of income – all in battle to stop Covid-19. Yet the government does not want to pay the cost of these demands.

This government has exhibited all too readily its willingness to demand action from citizens – but not its willingness to support those who most need it. We have seen this with the complete selling out of the childcare sector. With the ignoring of the crises in the entertainment industry, the aviation sector, the events industry, the pub trade and the taxi sector – to name but a few.

And of course, we have seen this with those on sick leave or those parents unable to work because they have to care for their children. In a time of an international pandemic, no one should be punished for falling ill and no parent punished for caring for their child.”

“Guaranteeing sick pay is the very least that can be done to ensure that people do not go to work and risk spreading Covid-19 – because they can ill afford not to. However, a key proviso to guaranteeing sick pay and parental leave is ensuring that businesses don’t go bankrupt trying to pay sick leave.

Many small businesses, childcare providers and sole traders cannot afford to sick pay or parental leave. There needs to be government sick pay that kicks in where an employer cannot afford to cover the sick pay or parental leave. Successive Taoisigh, Health Ministers and HSE officials have been telling people to stay at home if feeling unwell and to not go into the workplace with any ailments. The reason people have gone to work ill in the past is not out of choice, but out of a lack of choice.”