“Social Democrats, Labour, PBP and Sinn Féin Stay Silent As New Zealand Abandons Zero Covid” - Tóibín
Reacting to New Zealand’s abandonment of the Zero Covid approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said:
“Whatever chance New Zealand had of implementing Zero Covid this policy was, from the second wave on, obviously impossible in Ireland. That fact that the vast majority of the opposition parties in the Dáil supported such a policy gave the Irish government a blank check in their implementation of the most severe and costly restrictions in Europe”
An Teachta Tóibín: “From mid-2020, it was obvious Zero Covid was neither attainable or sustainable. Yet several parties in the Dáil (Soc Dems/Labour/PBP/SF) as a result of buying into Zero Covid, offered no challenge and no critique to the outlier policy that was pursued by the government. Real opposition is a critical part of a functional democracy. When opposition does not do its job it can cost the state significantly in terms policy swings. No other country in Europe imposed restrictions for as long or as severe as Ireland did. This has had massive consequences on Irish society. Patients went without diagnosis and treatment for far too long. Ireland, Saudi Arabia and North Korea were the only countries in the world to outright prohibit religious services”.
Deputy Tóibín continued “In the first quarter of this year 10,000 homes were not built, this in a country with a housing crisis. Ireland spend €41 billion on Covid restriction-related costs. We saw a 21% increase in expenditure last year. The EU average was 10% and countries such as France saw an expenditure increase of as low as 5%. The government made these decisions. But much of this was facilitated by our so-called opposition disappearing. Aontú was the only voice of challenge in this whole period”.
“Covid is a real illness and the management of it was extremely difficult. The government and the opposition could not have gotten it all right. However the fact that Ireland was such an extreme outlier has not been properly analysed as of yet. It should be a significant part of the terms of references of any public investigations into the crisis in Ireland. Indeed many other countries have already started the process of investigation. We won’t hold our breath in Ireland for either the government or the opposition in calling an investigation into their actions”, concluded Tóibín.