Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the government to create a society wide task force to research the possibility of emerging from Lockdown at a safe and faster pace than originally indicated by the government. An Teachta Tóibín stated;

Its clear that to me that the actions of the people of Ireland in adhering to the Lockdown over the last 10 weeks has significantly reduced the numbers who a got Covid-19 and has also reduce the numbers who have died. The Irish people and most especially our front-line workers have reduced the numbers to far less than was initially anticipated.

2,000 people have lost their lives to Covid 19 in Ireland north and south over the last 3 months. Behind each of these numbers there is a real tragedy, a real person, with a real life story and a grieving family. The crisis in our Nursing Homes led to more than 50% of these deaths. We must ensure we see not return to these disastrous figures. We need to ensure that the capacity that exists in testing and tracing is not left sitting idle and is properly utilized.

However its clear that without the actions of the general public these figures would have been far higher. Its also clear now Lockdown is itself inflicting a terrible cost on society. The health service has been orientated away from the significant killers such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. Breast, Bowel and Cervical Check has ground to a halt. There are 1100 empty beds in the system and A&Es and Doctor’s Surgeries are being avoided in large numbers. Last week I found out that the HSE is doing no forecasting or modelling in relation to the effects on future health and mortality of the reduction on health services.

The economy is taking a serious hit and as a result hundreds of thousands of families are being cast into financial instability. The country is taking on tens of billions of euro worth of debt. This debt will suppress investment in housing, health and education in future. The poverty that will emerge from this will cost lives. The Lockdown is also taking its toll in terms of mental health, alcoholism and domestic violence.

We need to look at sector by sector solutions to that could possibly allow a return to some level of normality while at the same time protecting people’s health. The crisis in the Meat Factories shows how important it is for sector specific planning and management  of the return to work. The Meat industry could well be a preview of other manufacturing industries where people work in close proximity. It is critically important that this is an island wide intuitive. Aontú is calling on the government to create a taskforce made up of each sector in society including Nphet to look at if and how we can emerge sooner and safer than originally planned