The Dáil Should Not Write a Blank Cheque on Extending Covid-19 Emergency Powers – Tóibín
Responding to the proposed extension of Covid-19 Emergency Powers until November 2021, Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has raised extreme concerns over government plans to extending far reaching lockdown powers.
An Teachta Tóibín:
“I am amazed at the lack of analysis by the majority of the political and media class on Ireland’s outlier use of Lockdown during the Covid Crisis. I understand that when the health service was in danger of being overwhelmed that there is a need for restrictions to reduce Covid numbers. I also understand that Ireland was more exposed than most EU countries due to the lack of capacity in our Health Service. However Ireland was a significant outlier in terms of the length and severity of Lockdown. Indeed workplace closures here were a multiple of those in other EU countries with similar results in terms of mortality and morbidity”.
“Lockdown is not a cost free exercise. It a extremely damaging tool to use. It pushes hundreds of thousands of people into poverty. It denies people homes. It denies people with Cancer, Heart Disease and Mental Ill health crucial treatment. It builds up massive debt which steals from future investment in housing health, education and infrastructure”.
“For much of the last year the Dáil was bypassed by the Executive in enormous decisions that had life and death consequences. Oversight and accountability was radically reduced. Announcements were made in RTE studios with the elected representatives of the people watching as onlookers. That’s not how representative democracy should operate. The majority of the vulnerable cohorts have been vaccinated. This is not January. Thankfully, the numbers of people in Hospital and ICU with Covid are extremely low”.
“I am not saying that there may not be a situation in the future where some restrictions will be necessary. What I am saying is that the conditions that exist now do not warrant giving the government, that has made so many incredibly damaging decisions during this crisis, a blank cheque”.
“Government Covid policy has been hammered with contradictions. Indoor dining will start in Hotels on the 2nd of June but it will be at least a month later for restaurants or pubs. There is no scientific logic to this. 50 people can attend Mass but only 25 people can attend a funeral. 6 people can attend the afters of a wedding but if guests
book into the hotel they can all drink in the bar”.
“Ireland was locked shut for nearly 14 months yet 56% of the people who died in Ireland caught Covid in a Nursing Homes or a Hospital, two locations either run or regulated by the government. At the start of the pandemic when nursing homes around the country voluntarily shut their doors to visitors, they were slapped on the wrist by NPHET and were told that its ‘not necessary’. Following this there were reports that the HSE ‘intercepted’ supplies of PPE, Oxygen and staff which were designated for nursing homes. ‘Intercepted’ was the term used by then opposition health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly. Freedom of Information documents show that Simon Harris repeatedly ignored meeting requests from Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland during the emergency”.