Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has sharply criticised the government’s Covid-19 plan, noting that it “offered absolutely nothing for a rural Ireland that is languishing in lockdown”.
He feels caution and fear have replaced reason and common sense when it comes to dealing with the pandemic.
The independent TD stressed that there is a worrying absence of hard data and of certainty on the return of school pupils.
“There are also grave concerns over the state of small subcontractors who face the possibility of financial ruin if supports are not forthcoming.”
“As it stands, we are way behind on house building targets and the majority of Europe has already reopened their construction industries.
Government’s Covid-19 plan
The least this Government could do, he suggested, is approach banks and financial institutions and request a moratorium on repayments of between three and six months for contractors.
Continuing, he added: “The current proposals will do absolutely nothing to halt the accelerating deterioration of morale amongst the citizens of rural Ireland who are looking for leadership, not confusion and absence.
“Caution and care are of course required in dealing with Covid 19, but absolutely no logic can be applied to the ongoing lock-down of our building and construction sites.”
Timelines for vaccines and re-opening society
Ongoing measures must also be put in place to help the hospitality sector, which has been particularly hit as a result of these lockdowns, he added.
“We are going to have to, very shortly, consider how we deal with the consequences of lock-down and simply promising ‘reviews’ is not an acceptable strategy.”
“The Government needs to be far more precise with its timelines for vaccination and re-opening. The people need the sense that there is a schedule and a plan.”
“Unfortunately, we are in a country where the Government’s decisions have meant that a lot of people are now dependent on welfare payments in order to survive.”
“People need to have some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t want to hear about further reviews assessments. We need definite timelines of when all the various sectors can re-open, even if it is on a phased basis.”
He asked why cannot a date be set if the Government believes that they are going to have 60% of adults fully vaccinated by June.
“Above all, this Government needs to understand that – for rural Ireland in particular – appeals to hold firm are no longer enough,” Fitzmaurice concluded.