Longford TD: 'People have lost faith in lockdowns and need to see pathway out of restrictions'

'Communications blunders and stop start nature of vaccine campaign has damaged public confidence beyond repair'

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Longford TD: 'People have lost faith in lockdowns and need to see pathway out of restrictions'

Longford TD Joe Flaherty: 'People have lost faith in lockdowns and need to see pathway out of restrictions' Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

Longford / Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Joe Flaherty has said that people have lost faith in lockdowns and that the embattled government, of which he is a member, needs to provide a clear and defined way out of lockdown for the end of March.

Deputy Flaherty said: “The public need to see a clear pathway out of restrictions from the end of the month. Not withstanding a massive effort from the general public, Covid-19 numbers show no no sign of abating and it is inconceivable to think that lives and livelihoods can be left on hold for much longer.”

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He added: “The new year began upbeat and the public were excited and looking forward to the vaccine rollout. But a series of communications blunders and the stop start nature of the vaccine campaign has damaged public confidence beyond repair.”

Deputy Flaherty was at pains to say in January that the government and NPHET needed to be given the space and time to fight Covid-19 but the public have lost faith.

“At the end of the month we will be 13 weeks in this lockdown and it is making no discernible difference. The people have lost faith in lockdowns.”

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Deputy Flaherty was also critical of the failure to effect mandatory hotel quarantine.

“We saw PR Garda checkpoints at the airport for a couple of  weeks and then one of the most protracted build ups to the roll out of mandatory quarantine. All the time people are flying in and out of the country on holidays and whether it would have tackled the Covid-19 numbers or not, the public felt it would and it needed to be actioned.”

Appealing to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Longford TD said the end of the month must see a pathway out of restrictions.

“Businesses need to know a start date, children need to start playing sports again and people of faith need to be able to gather and celebrate the most important event in the Christian calendar. The 5km limit needs to go and it is time to let golf and other individual outdoor sports resume in a controlled environment.”

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He added: “These are small steps but ultimately the coming days needs to see a clear plan with dates and times for re-opening. The public aren’t to be blamed for the stop start nature of the vaccine rollout. We can manage a graduated exit from lockdown but we need to see the timeline.”

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