Friday, 27 March 2020
Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Motion for Earlier Signature
I thank all Members for the work they have done for the past four years. I have not agreed with everybody in the House but their good intentions were certainly there.
I wish the Minister the best in these difficult times. He has done extremely well over the past several weeks and I thank him for that. I thank the public and civil servants who are going to work every day and working so well and diligently. They are not thanked often enough. The professional Civil Service we have underpins our democracy. Whatever Government is elected, one can depend on our public servants to do their job.
I also want to acknowledge the front-line services from doctors, nurses, cleaners to the person working in the supermarket stacking shelves. We will come out of this stronger. When we do, however, we have to look at who are the true risk-takers. The true risk-takers over the past several weeks and in the coming months are those who provide those important services. They support the health services. They provide the masks.They are going to make sure there is food in the supermarket. Be they farmers, staff working in the warehouse who load the truck that goes to the supermarket or the staff at the till in the supermarket, who are mainly female, they are making sure we can get the necessities of life. I hope that, at the end of this, we will realise they are the real risk-takers. Over recent weeks, they have risked their health. In the coming weeks, we will expect them to do the same again. Every morning, they will leave their families to do their jobs. To them, I say thank you.
This is my last contribution in the House because I am not going forward for re-election. I wish the incoming Seanad the very best of luck. It will be very difficult and mistakes will be made. All parties and individuals have to realise this, regardless of what Government is formed. The Government is acting at such speed that there will be mistakes, but they will not be made on purpose. Mistakes will be made because the Government will want to do the best it can as quickly as it can. A personalised attack should not happen. We have to seek to have a Government that acts in the best interest of the citizens. I accept that and accept that there will be mistakes made but the Government will not be setting out to make them. It will be trying to deliver a really good service to citizens. In that regard, I applaud whatever Government comes in. Over the next weeks and months, I will do my share voluntarily in whatever way possible. I wish the incoming Government the best of luck. I wish everybody who has gone forward for election to the Seanad the best of luck. Above all, I wish my neighbours, fellow Dubliners and fellow countrymen the best of luck over the coming months. We will get through this.