Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Cabinet Committees (Continued)

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[:] This idea that this is all being done for profit is nonsense. A lockdown destroys ordinary people's lives. The Deputy talks about ordinary people. Does he know what he is saying? Who suffers the most?

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy The virus kills people.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I know that. We have a set of criteria in the plan that we discussed with NPHET. They are broad criteria; I accept that. The bottom line is that everyone had an expectation of a graduated response.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy It was not graduated.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Once there is a lockdown, there are unintended consequences. There is no point pretending it would not have a serious effect on many ordinary self-employed people who have grasped the period from the last lockdown to now to try and create viability in their business. They might employ four or five people. A lockdown on Sunday night could have spelled the end for them. These are the hard decisions we have to make and we are not making the call in terms of short-term profit. That is an outrageous and propagandistic assertion, which is more to do with ideology than reality on the ground.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy The decision is about ideology.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Our reality is to protect people as much as we can, including lives and livelihoods. They are intertwined because a range of health consequences can emanate from people losing jobs or being unsure about their future. Their mental health can be undermined. We have to take that on board.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett We agree with that.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy We will be back to level 5.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We may not. We still have it within our responsibility as people. We can impact on this, collectively and individually, if we pull together to try to get the numbers stabilised. If we do not, we may have to move to another level.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy Then it will be later and longer. There will be more damage-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We may have to do that. As I said last week, the decision was at this stage not to move to level 5. I have no guarantees, just as there were no guarantees that had we moved to level 5, it would all be fine in four weeks' time.

On the New Zealand strategy, we are not New Zealand, either geographically or in terms of economic construct. We are different from New Zealand. No other country in Europe at the moment has gone ahead with a lockdown, even though their numbers are far higher than ours.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy But our ICU capacity-----

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin No, it is not to do with ICU capacity.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy That is not what NPHET says.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin NPHET does not say that.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett That is what it is worried about.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin There is a range of criteria. The HSE says it has ICU capacity. We are obviously concerned and will monitor that but the HSE is running the service and the last time out, we managed. We created a surge capacity when it came and our hospitals managed.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald By stopping all other activity in the services.

The Taoiseach: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We will have to readjust and I hope we do not get there but, if we do, we will do everything we can to protect people. There has to be balance to the debate and using language to suggest that short-term profit triumphs over everything is just propagandistic, ideological nonsense.

Sitting suspended at 4.13 p.m. and resumed at 4.36 p.m.


Last Updated: 07/04/2021 15:29:51 First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page