Sinn Féin must start taking their responsibilities seriously when it comes to Covid-19, according to Longford Senator, Micheál Carrigy, “as their hypocritical game playing is helping nobody”.
The comments came following revelations that Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had left a Covid-19 briefing after less than an hour, despite having claimed she did not have access to information on public health advice.
However, Sinn Féin insists that she attended the three-hour meeting for around 90 minutes before leaving just after the Health chiefs did.
Senator Carrigy said that the revelations are “further proof that Sinn Féin say one thing in public but practice the entire opposite in reality”.
“They are hypocritical and disingenuous, which is bad enough in normal times, but when it comes to Covid-19 this kind of game playing is just not good enough,” he said.
Hitting out at the Sinn Féin leader, the Fine Gael Senator said that Ms McDonald proceeded to say that she could not give an opinion on the need to move to Level 5 of the government’s plan for Living with Covid-19, “doing the typical Sinn Féin thing of waiting to see what way the wind was blowing before committing to a public position”.
“She repeatedly evaded questions on the matter, claiming that she did not have the necessary public health information,” Senator Carrigy insisted.
He added, “Sinn Féin just cannot be trusted when it comes to Covid-19 and their hypocritical game playing is helping nobody.”
Senator Carrigy went on to say that the government has done “the responsible thing” from the very beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, ensuring that opposition parties are fully briefed on public health advice and the plans for restrictions on society.
“We in turn expect opposition parties to take their own responsibilities seriously and engage with the briefings available,” he said.
“Covid-19 has resulted in loss of life, serious health issues for many people and livelihoods put at risk across the country.
“It is time Sinn Féin took their responsibilities seriously. We are all working hard to ensure that Level 5 is a success and we hope everyone across the political spectrum will play their part in encouraging adherence to the public health guidelines.”
Hitting back at those claims, Longford/Westmeath TD, Sorca Clarke said that Sinn Féin “have been supportive of the public health response from the get-go”.
“But we have insisted that restrictions must be accompanied by appropriate economic supports for workers, families and businesses,” she said in response to Senator Carrigy’s comments.
“We have forced the government to row back on their cuts to the PUP and to reintroduce protections for renters. The current issue with workers being told they do not qualify for the PUP this lockdown, despite being in receipt of it previously, has already been highlighted by myself and other Sinn Féin TDs to the Department.
“These workers urgently need this rectified, while they cannot go to work they are reliant on support to put food on the table yet are being denied this vital income,” she continued.
“There is another issue which this government have chosen to completely ignore; that is the need to reintroduce mortgage breaks for borrowers who have again lost their jobs or have had incomes reduced.
“This must be addressed and urgently so, delaying protection for mortgage holders could lead to not only an increase in repayments as people get back to work and financial stability but an increase in home repossessions further down the line.”