Thursday, 21 October 2021
Covid-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting: Statements
This is the weekend of the jazz festival in Cork. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, weekends of the year for restaurants, hotels, bars and nightclubs. When the businesses were told restrictions would be lifted on 22 October, just in time for the weekend, they were delighted. It presented a good opportunity and it really lifted people's spirits. On Tuesday, however, all this was brought into doubt. Now, at almost 5 p.m. on the Thursday before the jazz weekend, people still do not know what is happening. As we speak, the industry is trying to get clarity from the Government on what is going to happen. It is crazy that businesses are in this position the day before the weekend. There is utter chaos and confusion over what is happening. It is devastating not just for the business community and its staff and suppliers but also for the customers who have booked hotels and tickets for concerts and other events, in addition to those who have made plans and who are looking forward to this weekend. This is not the first time this has happened.
I am all for following the public health advice and have stated that publicly, but nobody should be finding out about new restrictions on Twitter or the day before an event. It is not good enough. The announcement, like many others, was leaked right, left and centre, but leaks are not good enough when dealing with businesses, staff and people's lives. It is just not fair on businesses, workers, suppliers and customers. It must not keep happening like this.
I wish to mention Nadim Hussain, who is currently on hunger strike in the direct provision centre on Kinsale Road in Cork. Maybe the Minister might ask the Minister for Justice, Deputy Humphreys, and her officials to consider Nadim's case. It certainly merits consideration.