Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

Healy-Rae: People will “never forgive” FF/FG, extended powers give them “blank cheque”

Michael Healy-Rae TD has ripped the government on their extended covid powers, saying that it gives them a “blank cheque”, and said that many people will “never forgive” the government for the lockdown measures.

Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, the Independent Kerry TD explained why he would not be supporting the bill.

“My colleagues in the Rural Independent Group and I have put forward amendments and I am supporting other amendments that have been tabled,” he said.

“I am not supporting the Bill, however, because I have studied it and it can be only described as a blank cheque for the Government. I cannot for the life of me understand how, for example, Deputies from County Kerry could support the Bill and give the Government a blank cheque.

“If they were listening to the people in Kerry, they would hear what they are saying. They are saying, “Enough is enough” and “We have done enough.” They have put their shoulders to the wheel, but business owners are on their knees, be it hoteliers, shopkeepers, small traders, hairdressers, beauticians or the various categories of tradespeople who have worked hard to build up their businesses and who have been held back for so long. They are suffering financially and mentally, as are their families. They have been through a lot.

“On a daily basis, and as late as this evening, they have been saying to me: “For God’s sake, will you tell them above there that enough is enough, we want to get back to normal and we do not want the Government to be able to come along at any time and do what it did in the past and go over the top.”

“I have seen at first hand, as I am sure has every other Deputy here, bereaved families, brothers and sisters, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces sitting in their cars in the yards of churches watching the burial mass for their grandfather or grandmother on their mobile phones while there were only ten people in the church.”

The Deputy proceeded to criticise NPHET for their previous recommendation that only ten people should be allowed to attend funerals.

“I challenge the person from NPHET who recommended to the government that only ten people should be allowed in the cathedral in Killarney. For God’s sake, it did not make sense. The people officiating at those masses, the priests, were repeatedly saying that it did not make sense because they were on the altars looking down into the churches and they could see what ten people looked like.

“It was an act of insanity on the part of this Government to put that restriction in place. It was grossly wrong, highly offensive and it will never be forgotten by the families involved….No matter how many times the Government was told that what is was doing was wrong, it would not listen.

“There are plenty of other examples, but this is an example in the extreme because that is a time in a person’s life that he or she cannot get back. For young people who loved their grandparents and lost one of them during that time it was deeply upsetting, highly offensive and wrong.”

Healy-Rae went on to say that many people “will never forgive Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael [or] the Green Party.”

“Nobody could look me in the eye and tell me that that was right or proper or that it was in the interests of public health,” he added.

“It was absolute nonsense of the highest order that only ten people were allowed into the cathedral in Killarney. It would take a person a long time to find ten people in that cathedral. It was crazy,” adding that people had “put up with an awful lot” from “so-called experts.”

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