Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has described the Government’s move not to permit a number of socially-distanced ringside bidders under Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions as “absolute stupidity”.
He shed light on the matter during a debate on Covid-19 earlier this week.
In his opening statement, he said: “There was a lot of praise in this debate for the people working in our healthcare service. As I have said on numerous occasions, I do not want them to be praised.”
“I know they are not looking for praise. I want them to be paid. Wage agreements are in place for our nurses.”
“Catering staff who have worked in our hospitals have not received a pay increase in 13 years. If I am wrong about that, I would like to be corrected and told that I am wrong. Unfortunately, I am correct. That situation is wrong.”
Michael Healy Rae on livestock marts
The Government has made many mistakes in how it handled this crisis, he said.
“I supported it in every way when it was doing something right. I will outline an example of absolute stupidity. When I and others came to the House and asked for marts to be opened so that farmers could go around a ring and bid for cattle, the answer was no.”
“Instead, they are sitting on the bonnets of motor cars staring into computers to look at animals. That is a far more unsafe practice than if they were allowed around the rings, where the excellent mart managers would take care of them and ensure that social distancing would apply.”
He said people have put their shoulders to the wheel. He added he is “deeply grateful” to them for that, in trying to save and protect lives.
“Nevertheless, the hospitality sector has been sold down the swanny. I have spoken to people earlier who told me they will not now open their pubs because of the way the Government has treated them.”
“That is really unfair to pick on one sector of society. Despite their best efforts, it [the government] has failed to produce any link of evidence between people consuming alcohol in public houses and the spread of the virus. Ye [the government] tried to prove it but failed.” he concluded.