Thursday, 8 October 2020
Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
As the Ceann Comhairle said, the Business Committee spent a considerable time today discussing this. The Minster for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, is willing to partake in statements and questions and answers this evening which is why we made the proposal. We sought to accommodate a discussion in this evening's debate and time was provided at the end of today. The Opposition requested a debate on Covid. Last week, all Government time was provided for a debate on Covid. As the Ceann Comhairle said, there will continue to be regular debates on this issue. It is unfortunate that much of the debate has involved the politicisation of the public health approach. Many Opposition Deputies are trying to undermine the bona fide attempts by the Government to suppress the virus and bring it under control. That is a serious issue in the context of public health messaging that many Opposition Deputies, although not all, are attacking the Government strategy of suppressing the virus and giving clear and concise information to the public on how we need to tackle it. The framework for that is very clear.
I accept that Deputy Boyd Barrett has a different view but other Members seem to want to go back to level 1 or 2. We are clear about what we have set out, how we want to proceed and how to ensure enforcement and compliance at level 3 to suppress the virus. The Minister for Health will be before the Dáil this evening. We are accommodating that in the schedule and I am sure there will be debate on this issue next week and the week after that. Deputies are not being genuine if they seek questions and answers at a private meeting of the Business Committee, which the Government has been willing to facilitate, and then come into the Chamber and try to move the goalposts by looking for something else.