Thursday, 21 October 2021
Covid-19: Reframing the Challenge, Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting: Statements
I listened to the Minister's opening comments earlier. I am not here to bash anybody.
I thank all the front-line workers. We could spend 20 minutes naming all of the jobs.
I am worried about clarity and the short notice. We have the jazz festival in Cork this weekend. I have been speaking to many business owners who were planning for additional hours. It is hitting that sector again. I want to flag this. This debate is about reframing the challenge, continuing our recovery and reconnecting. Reconnecting is getting back to where we were. I have listened to many of the contributors to the debate and mental health has been mentioned. With regard to reframing the challenge and continuing our recovery, I have to bring up a particular issue again. The Minister will be black and blue from listening to me. In the middle of a pandemic, when mental health issues are off the Richter scale, we are closing the only mental health facility in my town in east Cork. I know the Minister has reports from the HSE but I have told him before and I will tell him again it is misinformation. The people are suffering. If we lose this service in east Cork, it will never come back. If we are trying to move forward, how is it prudent to close a centre that never had a Covid case or a suicide? It has long-term care, short-term care, a respite service and a mental health day service. All of a sudden, whoever calls the shots decided this is the right thing to do. It is absolutely ludicrous and I appeal to the Minister. If I could sit down with him for ten minutes and go through this with him, I would give him the truth on it.
In the short time I have left I will say that we are not going in the right direction. I appeal to everybody to adhere to a common sense approach. Please listen to the people outside but please listen to us in here when we raise genuine concerns. It is not about bashing the Government all of the time. I worry when something is working right and it has been a complement to society and the community that somebody in another power or entity decides to shut it down or fix something that is not broken. I thank the Minister for his patience.