Credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

WATCH: “I want a straight answer” McGrath says to Martin

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has accused An Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil of failing to produce evidence of the effectiveness of the Covid pass, and said that since the “discriminatory” passes “do not stop the transmission of Covid, one would think the Government would move to scrap these discriminatory passes altogether.”

The Rural Independent leader also said that the Minister for Health was being, yet again handed “draconian powers” and that this had been the case for 20 months now.

“While Members were in the Chamber, the Taoiseach took to the airwaves to talk to the public and went over the heads of some members of the public to talk to the children. He told us that we were implementing new more draconian measures than we previously signed into law, which will be debated further in this Chamber this evening. For more than 20 months now, the Minister for Health could sign into law whatever he chose, which has had massive impacts on the livelihoods of our citizens throughout the country,” he said.

“On Friday, for example, the Taoiseach announced the introduction of tighter restrictions on the hospitality industry with the closure of nightclubs and a suite of measures, including the reduction of numbers and table service. This is not to mention the arts and entertainment industry, which has been wiped out completely.”

“With the apparent admission that Covid passes do not stop the transmission of Covid, one would think the Government would move to scrap these discriminatory passes altogether. Instead, it has doubled down and put more pressure on people. That is a retrograde step. What studies have been carried out into the effectiveness of Covid digital certificates in stopping or reducing the transmission of Covid-19? Will the Government publish the studies on the effectiveness of certificates and bring them before the House for debate? We have had no debate on it and we have no evidence.

Deputy McGrath said that the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, among others, “is opposed to the extension of Covid passes and noted that whenever the Government introduces legislation that affects and impacts the rights of citizens, it must carry out a ballpark test on its “necessity and proportionality”.

He quoted the civil rights group as saying the government must show “evidence that the measure[s] introduced … [are] necessary to achieve a particular aim. To that end, [the] Government has yet to … [provide any] evidence.”

“Will the Government bring forward the evidence, if it has it, and have it debated in the House on what specific benefit the system has, and will have, in the coming months, despite the massive impact it has on our people?” Deputy McGrath said.

“I want a straight answer from the Taoiseach about digital passes. Have they any benefit in stopping the transmission of Covid? I believe they have not. As I said, the data clearly suggests that they do not work to stop transmission. Since the introduction of vaccine certificates, we have seen 323,000 positive cases. The Government needs to produce the evidence and show us clearly why certificates have not curbed the spread of Covid or diminished it in any shape, make or form. I want the Taoiseach to present this information, if he has it. He should have it because he talked about ‘the science’. Show us where ‘the science” is. These certificates are discriminatory and, as I said previously, are providing medical apartheid to the people of our country.”

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