NPHET's proposed Level 5 lockdown would be 'economic suicide' says Longford businessman

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

NPHET's proposed Level 5 lockdown would be 'economic suicide' says Longford businessman

Local businessman, John Kiernan, of Kiernan Structural Steel, has written a strongly-worded letter to local politicians and members of Oireachtas, detailing the devastating impact that a Level 5 lockdown will have on the economy.

The letter, entitled 'Future Lockdown - Economic Suicide', was shared with the Longford Leader this morning and pleaded with local TDs to consider the effect that following NPHET advice will have on the economy.

Employing 200 people, mainly based in Longford, Kiernan Structural Steel is at risk of losing a number of major projects overseas, should Ireland once again go into lockdown.

"Should Ireland go into lockdown in coming weeks our company will automatically be struck off from these UK projects as no client in their right mind could take that risk of supply to their project," said Mr Kiernan.

"Every time the country is locked down it sends shock waves of economic uncertainty around the world. If you were a multi-national willing to invest in Ireland would you do so not knowing whether the country was going to be open or not?"

Yesterday, NPHET recommended that the entire country go into Level 5 lockdown. Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan is due to meet with government leaders this morning to discuss this advice.

The full letter written by Mr Kiernan can be read below.

"I write to you this morning in utter dismay at what NPHET is proposing in locking down the country again.

"For those of you that do not know, Kiernan Structural Steel currently employ over 200 people based outside Longford Town. The majority of our employees live in the local area.

"Last week we secured a major award from the British Steel Construction Association’s SSDA (Structural Steel design Awards) for the roof on the Curragh Racecourse.

"The Curragh project beat off competition from Tottenham Hotspurs new stadium. This is great publicity for our company across Ireland and the UK.

"We are very close to landing two major projects in the UK. Should we secure one of these projects, it  keep our factory in Longford in work for up to six months in 2021.

"On the news we are very close on both of these projects we have also ordered a new machine costing €2.5 million which is due for delivery in mid-January.

"Should Ireland go into lockdown in coming weeks our company will automatically be struck off from these UK projects as no client in their right mind could take that risk of supply to their project.

"Who is then going to keep our 200 employees in employment or pay for this expensive machine then? Irish construction is quite busy currently but 2021 looks quiet & there are no major construction projects on the horizon compared with the last number of years. We are also pricing work in Amsterdam, Poland and Sweden – it will be a similar fate on these projects also I would imagine.

"The Irish government’s agency Enterprise Ireland is doing a great job promoting Irish jobs through export. How can Irish companies export product if the Irish Government is keeping them closed?

"Every time the country is locked down it sends shock waves of economic uncertainty around the world. If you were a multi-national willing to invest in Ireland would you do so not knowing whether the country was going to be open or not?

"Do they and you as our elected representatives, not realise what they are doing to this country – both economically, but more importantly socially?

"It was reported on Saturday last, 10 deaths, when in fact it was two deaths from Coronavirus. The eight other deaths were prior to September. This is complete manipulation of data and causing untold anxiety to our people especially the elderly and infirm. If this was the private sector, people would be fired.

"What concerns me the most is that NPHET are unelected. A few senior doctors have spoken out against what NPHET are doing and subsequently been forced to resign – this is not democracy! There has only been one side to this story. All debate is being stifled.

"What is more worrying, only a handful of our politicians are questioning what NPHET are doing. I encourage you all to review the facts closely and do your own research before it is too late for our country.

"In the past two weeks, I have driven through Longford, Mullingar and Granard towns and there are a lot of for sale/to let signs everywhere – Longford and Granard towns were already struggling economically, mainly due to the lack of jobs and and letting gangs and drug dealers run amok in the streets.

"We are based in rural Killoe, outside Longford town. In a 15-mile radius I can count seven pubs that are not re-opening. Pubs are not the be all but they do perform a hugely important social function, particularly for older men, especially bachelors maintaining their mental health.

"Unless you start standing up, asking hard factual questions, our country will be in complete ruin. Our debt after the 2008 bank guarantee has our country and our people completely crippled. This further proposed lockdown will just be the death nail of Ireland - particularly rural Ireland.

"The question will be then, who will fund the country if most of the private businesses are gone out of business? Who will then fund the public sector – the wages for the health service personnel, civil servants, teachers, Gardaí, army and even TDs?

"Are we as a state to continually borrow and add to our national debt for eternity? The economics of this do not work.

"Our government decisions today are going to affect generations to come for the next hundred years. Please start asking hard questions and stand up and be counted."