Dáil debates

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Vaccination Programme and Covid-19: Statements


11:10 am

Photo of Marc MacSharryMarc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I want to make a few points. I thank the Minister. The plan announced the other evening is not ambitious and lacks strategy. It is a case of live horse and get grass, things will be better and in about two years' time, we can all look forward to eating al fresco with two people per acre while it is raining.

On the vaccination side, there is still nobody in charge. Once there is plausible deniability, everybody gets blamed - NPHET, NIAC, the HSE and everybody else. There is not an ounce of common sense when one considers that front-line retail workers and gardaí have worked for the entirety of lockdown without a mention and some teachers are dealing with children who are not in a position to wear masks for health reasons. We have not even thought about them.

It is governance by optics and the view of NPHET. We have not had the ambition to look for a balance in operating society. I have said to the Taoiseach, and put in writing to the Minister, that we should examine and analyse hospitalisations at the moment. Senior consultants who are naturally afraid, in the colosseum that Ireland has become, to speak publicly for fear of being thrown under the bus for dissenting have pointed out to me that up to 60% of hospitalisations do not require high-flow oxygen in high-dependency units or ventilation in ICUs and could be dealt with in settings such as the facility at Citywest. That could be replicated in five or six locations throughout the country and ensure that our acute hospitals are not in danger.

The Cabinet is responsible to all the people of Ireland. We are responsible for a functioning society. We are not remotely showing any ambition to achieve that. I appeal to the Minister to consider some of the points I have continually made to him and the Taoiseach in writing and otherwise since last March.


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