Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has slammed the decision to severely restrict hospitality, leaving restaurants and hotels in crisis, as the Dáil goes on a month’s holidays over Christmas.
“It’s incredible that this social and economic bombshell has been dropped within hours of the Dáil closing for a one-month holiday,” he said.
“A decision of this magnitude should not be made without democratic oversight. The elected reps of the people and the leaders of the opposition should be watching on like observers when decisions this damaging to the fabric of society are being made. Yet democratic deficit has been the policy since the start of the Covid crisis,” he said.
“The latest Nphet advice has come when thankfully the number of people in hospital with Covid has dropped to a 2 month low. I understand that we have to be cautious. I understand that there is an unknown threat that we can’t control. However there are many things we can control in order to protect life,” the Meath West TD said.
“Hospital beds are 6,000 fewer than what’s needed. ICU beds are 250 fewer than what’s needed. The lack of government investment is the bigger threat to hospital capacity than Covid at the moment. Nothing has been done to radically improve ventilation in hospitality. Nothing has been done to introduce venue access antigen testing to stop the circulation of the illness in pubs and restaurants.”
“It is deeply frustrating and damaging that the government has ignored these critical measures. After Omicron there will likely be another variant. It is likely that we will have to live with this illness for many years in some format. Capacity is need for the 1million people on hospital waiting lists anyways”.