This week the Dáil heard that NPHET are now “the most powerful organisation in the country” yet Minister Stephen Donnelly absented himself from the Dáil when TDs wanted to ask important questions regarding the continued lockdown.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that the Minister didn’t see fit to remain in this chamber” – – right now there is absolutely no democratic accountability to the significant decisions being made in this country,” Peadar Tóibín, TD for Meath West said.
He said that TDs were unable to ask questions regarding who was making what decisions for the country. “I know of TDs who had to ask journalists to ask NPHET questions with regard to what’s happening in the country,” he said, yet “the Minister for Health wouldn’t bother his arse to sit in this Chamber and answer questions from TDs.”
The Aontú leader said that “Businesses are being massacred, hundreds of thousands of people are being pushed into poverty, significant sections of our health service are being decommissioned from their normal activities and being re-orientated,” he said.
Deputy Tóibín spelled out the cost of the effective closure of the health service: “Today 480 people got cancer. Today 24 people died of cancer. Today 27 people died from heart disease and will have died from stroke,” he said.
Deputy Tóibín later wrote that: “In my 10 years in Leinster House I have never seen such an absence of democracy.” “Frustration got the better of me today,” he said.
Deputy Tóibín was asked by the Cathaoirleach to withdraw his ‘unparliamentary language’ but many said that he expressed their own frustration.
Others pointed out that essential services were still not being provided.