Dáil debates

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Vaccination Programme and Covid-19: Statements


11:40 am

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am sharing time with Deputy Joan Collins.

I would like to establish the parameters of this question and answer session. What does it mean when the Minister says something in this House? If a Minister says something in a parliamentary democracy, we assume it to be true if words have meaning. To borrow a quote, it is a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. What does the Minister mean when he says that 80% of people will be offered a vaccine by the end of June? I ask because the Minister previously stated:

I assure the Deputy and other colleagues that with regard to penalties, religious services are non-penal in that there is no penalty attached to them ... I signed the regulations last night and I assure Deputies that it is a non-penal provision and it will remain thus.

What did that mean? If it means that somebody can be fined, what does what the Minister says in the House mean? Of course, we all make mistakes and we have the opportunity to correct the record of the House. If we say something untrue, we have the opportunity to correct if it we choose to, but if it is not untrue, what does what the Minister says mean? Doublethink is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one mind simultaneously and believing both of them to be true, for example, freedom is slavery, war is peace or the healthy are sick. I will allow the Minister to respond.


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