Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has stated that the disproportionate restrictions Ireland is under are exacting a punishing human cost, and damaging sectors of Irish society.

Tóibín: “Ireland is the 6th most restrictive country in the world, despite the fact that we have the 2nd lowest level of Covid in Europe. That means that 97% of the world’s countries have chosen a far less restrictive solution to Covid.

This government’s approach is a significant outlier in International terms and its having a massive human cost. The World Health Organisation state that Lockdowns should only be used to take pressure off the health service and ensure against hospitals being overwhelmed. This is no where near the case here.

As a result of the government’s decisions there have been 150,000 missed Cancer appointments, there are 200,000 women on cancer screening waiting lists, widespread delayed diagnoses/treatment in heart disease, stroke & mental health. Over half a million Irish people out of work. Since the start of the year, well over 3,000 SMEs have closed. We have seen a 25% increase in child poverty, which directly correlates to increased morbidity and mortality in the future.

“We in Aontú are not saying there are no need for restrictions. We are saying that the current level of restrictions are disproportionate and having serious negative side effects with a human cost. Aontú’s solution has been about increasing hospital and ICU capacity, testing at airports, protecting the vulnerable in Nursing Homes and tracing the illness in real time. Measures that work, protect our most vulnerable, but do not have the effect of leaving half a million Irish people out of work or increasing Child Poverty by 25%.”

“Further to this, we constantly hear the government state “We are all in this together”. We are not. TDs have not experienced any income reduction. Indeed many have had their income increase during this crisis”.

If we are truly in this together, we all need to shoulder our share of the hurt – a step in that direction is passing the Aontú Bill mandating a 25% pay cut for TDs whenever the country goes into lockdown. The government don’t know the hurt or fears arising from lockdown. By feeling some of the pain maybe they can begin to see that every restriction brings with it a human and monetary cost.”

Aontú, on the basis of current figures, is calling for the government to begin to open shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and churches in a safe manner”.