Aontú has said that the government’s reliance on “long-term draconian lockdown measures” is an “admission of failure” in efforts to tackle Covid-19.
The party leader, Peadar Tóibín, said that the government’s failure to plan, its lack of control regarding international travel, and the slow rollout for vaccines had led to a failure to contain the virus.
“The Control of Covid is of critical importance to Irish Society. Reducing the level of death, ill health and protecting our health service is of paramount importance,” Mr Tóibín said. “But the continuous reliance by the government on long term draconian Lockdown measures is an admission of failure in their efforts to tackle Covid”.
“The resistance of FF, FG and Greens to proper International Travel controls has allowed the state to be seeded and reseed with the virus and more aggressive variants is an absolute disaster. This government have imported the illness again and again through their refusal to protect ports and airports”.
He said the “lack of All Ireland cooperation has also been a mess”.
“The Northern administration claim that the south is a back door to the north and the Dublin Government counter claim that the north is a back door for the illness into the south. The circus of both administrations blaming each other for the lack of cooperation could not be framed in a more deadly manner than thousands of Covid deaths,” he said.
“The government admitted that it will be mid May, before all the Over 70s in this state will be vaccinated. This slow roll out has led to dozens of avoidable deaths already this year and is a the key reason for the extension of the lock down into April,” he claimed.
“There has been some pick up in Health capacity. However the government has still not given a reason as to why, according to a PQ I received from the Dept of Health, there are over 600 Job Ready potential staff on the Ireland on Call database that have never been employed despite dangerous resource gaps in Nursing Homes and the Health Service,” he said.
The Meath West TD also said that there was a “tsunami of non Covid Ill health breaking over the country. Over 850,000 people on Health waiting lists have had their treatment seriously delayed. Many will have seen their conditions deteriorate. Many will die as a result. Patients with cancer, heart disease, stroke and mental ill health are struggling even to get a diagnosis never mind treatment. The government must provide a road map on the restarting of the health service with more capacity that before and safely”.
“Children’s ability to develop, socialise and create friendships has been stunted. The nerves of Parents are frayed under the stress of trying to keep some level of normality in family lives. Alcoholism and domestic violence is imprisoning women and families in fear. Older people are also living in constant fear. The clock on the remaining time they have left on this earth is being run down in bitter isolation in many cases. The solace and supports normally provided by community religious practice has been erased for the first time in this country since penal times”.
“Many people are experiencing a deep Lock Down Closter phobia and this is corroding people’s mental health. A volunteer and anti-suicide activist told me that there are active searches for four missing persons in Galway city as we speak. He said that in his time as an activist this is unprecedent. Many communities are living with the chilling sound of helicopters hovering over their rivers and lakes”.
“Well over a half a million people have been made unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of workers and small business owners have been pushed into poverty. Every lock down week that passes many go deeper in debt. Like the country, the debt will have to be paid at some date.”
“Many parts of Ireland are in fear, panic, trauma and much darkness. It is of critical importance that the people see some light at the end of the tunnel. That light can only come if this government start to get the basics right,” he said.