The Rural Independent Group of TDs will move a Dáil motion tomorrow (Wednesday, July 14th) to block the government’s use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to indoor hospitality.
The motion calls on the government to immediately allow for the re-opening of all indoor hospitality to all parties.
If approved, all indoor hospitality could be re-opened from Thursday next.
The group aims to prevent the government from creating a “two-tier country of division, discrimination and injustice”.
COVID status certification
Speaking at a press conference, the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, stated:
“The government’s move to introduce a special Covid passport scheme would be the first attempt at segregation in Ireland for over a century.”
“Such a scheme would divide families, friends and communities and would do absolutely nothing to reduce the risks of Covid.”
“Ireland’s common goal is to emerge from lockdown – healthy, safe and free. But we will not arrive at freedom through exclusion and segregation.”
“Through this government’s authoritarian agenda, we are in real danger of becoming a check-point society where anyone from bouncers, restaurant staff and gardai could demand to see our papers.”
“International travel is a luxury, but participating in your own community is a fundamental right. So domestic Covid passports are an authoritarian step too far.”
“We do not defeat the virus with discrimination and oppression but with education, vaccination and mutual support.”
Full re-opening of indoor hospitality
The group called for the full re-opening of Irish restaurants and pubs.
McGrath highlighted that various reports value the sector’s total economic contribution at between €5 billion – 7.6 billion, representing between 1.5 – 2.3 per cent of GDP.
This sector also employs over 260,000 people, with over 71 per cent of those working outside Dublin.
“The government’s vaccine passport plan raises insurmountable scientific, legal, and ethical issues.”
The group said it should not be used within the borders of this country or as a tool to unlock international travel.
“Covid passports would be digital identity cards by the back door, giving public authorities such as the Gardaí access to biometric and healthcare data.”
“This ‘thin end of the wedge’ point is an important one, particularly given that public authorities in Ireland have not always been responsible guardians of our data.”
“This government’s approach of ongoing overreach has gone far enough. The dystopian move requiring us to show our ‘health papers’ wherever we go is truly extraordinary.”
Divide the people of Ireland
He said the system, if anyone adheres to it, seeks to divide the people of Ireland into two classes: those who have received the vaccine and those who have not.
“Such demands would be a violation of citizens’ civil and constitutional rights under Bunreacht na hÉireann.”
“Our motion provides all TDs with the opportunity to support the government sledgehammer approach or to stand up for the civil liberties and freedoms of every Irish person. The choice TDs take will be illuminating,” concluded the deputy.