Verona Murphy TD tore into the government on Wednesday for extending the emergency covid-19 powers for a further 6 months.
“As the Covid-19 situation was developing, I voted to give the Government these special emergency powers,” the ex-Fine Gael Wexford independent said.
Verona Murphy, Independent, explains her opposition to the often nonsensical and contradictory restrictions the government have introduced to date, and why she will be voting against the extension of emergency covid powers. #Covid19Ireland #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/P9wzSZsmtz
— JRD (@JRD0000) May 26, 2021
“I did so in good faith in the belief the powers would be used in good faith. Unfortunately, there have been too many examples of these restrictions being unnecessarily draconian and going beyond what I consider reasonable.”
Deputy Murphy went on to give examples of circumstances in which she believed the government had used their powers in excess, including the exclusion of people from public spaces and the suspension of medical services like cancer screenings.
She called many of the measures taken “madness”, saying “This has been shown on many occasions, not least when the Minister for Health said that priests would not be punished for saying mass, only for that very thing to happen just a few weeks later.
“He still has not apologised for misleading the Dáil on the issue,” she added.
Continuing on, the Deputy called into question the proportionality of the lockdown, and asserted that the government had become a “nanny state” that has treated adults “like children.”
“Was this a proportionate response?” she asked.
“Was it really necessary to use these powers to stop people visiting family or meeting each other for a chat? We endured the longest lockdown in Europe, with contradictory and nonsensical rules being implemented.
“Adults have been treated like children. The nanny state has wrapped us in cotton wool. People who were sceptical about the lockdown approach were cast aside with ridicule while the professional curtain-twitchers and scaremongers were given a soapbox at almost every possible opportunity.”
Slamming the role of the media during the pandemic, she added that the State broadcaster had subjected viewers to “almost constant doom and gloom”, and lashed out at “stupid guildelines” such as the proposed 105-minute limit on visits to pubs and restaurants.
“The attitude of the Government is that it knows best how people should live their lives,” Deputy Murphy concluded.
“We must move away from dictating. The Government should provide the information and even advise people, but it must let them decide for themselves.”