Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín is calling on the government to start to work on the development of an exit strategy from the current pandemic. With more lockdown measures being enacted, its important that the Irish people start to understand what timeline the government is presently working off with regards to their current Covid-19 response.
The pandemic has had a catastrophic effect upon businesses, households and the lives of all our citizens. No one is questioning the necessity of such measures. No one is suggesting that the government can have all the of the answers. However its logical that people start to plan for life on the other side of this crisis. We in Aontú have continuously called for the government to publish their modelling of this virus. To date they have refused to do so.
Many significant issues will be determined by the timescale of this crisis. Currently many thousands of people are waiting for the Covid 19 Welfare Payment to be paid. The government needs to deploy the necessary human resource to ensure this gets paid soon otherwise families will be unable to feed their children.
A significant weakness in the government approach to date is the testing of potential Covid-19 patients. Many people are waiting for well over a week for results. This means that the data that we are working off is in many cases well over a week old. In some cases, tragically, patients are dying while waiting for a test result meaning that their family may needlessly be refused contact with their loved ones in their last days.
If the current pandemic is to continue for months on end, then alternative arrangements must be made to accommodate sittings of all TDs in Dáil and Senators in Seanad. Thus far, our public representatives have been severely restricted – in terms of rarity of sittings and social distancing regulations – in performing their duties as public representatives, be it in terms of voting, asking Parliamentary questions or scrutinising executive actions in committee. Alternative venues must be explored to facilitate a full sitting of the Dáil to ensure the peoples’ concerns are being voiced.
Furthermore, we call on the government to utilise the full resources of the State to combat the virus. This includes a more harmonised approach with the North of Ireland, repurposing of factories towards the manufacturing of PPE, increases in testing and closure of our borders. The Irish people deserve the most effective and efficient response to Covid-19 which will allow their lives to return to normality and safety as soon as possible.