Monday, 29 March 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I want to address the decisions facing Cabinet tomorrow as it decides on the next steps with regard to the current level of restrictions.Like all Senators I am sure, I have received many representations on this issue in recent weeks and months. I recognise there is a difficult balancing act in easing restrictions while ensuring we avoid a fourth wave. The current level of restrictions, however, is simply not sustainable at this stage, as people are reaching breaking point. We must have faith in the people to act responsibly without the need for the intensity of level 5 restrictions. I urge the Government to allow the construction sector to resume immediately. We all recognise, particularly in my city of Galway, that there is an absolute necessity for more homes to be built throughout the country. Every week that the sector is shut delays the building of such homes.
This pandemic has had a considerable impact on children's development, as we are all aware. We must bring some level of normality back to their lives, ensure that schools will reopen fully on 12 April, as planned, and allow the resumption of outdoor sport, with training in pods at a minimum. We must also allow the resumption of low-risk outdoor activity, including sports such as golf, tennis, hiking and so on, remove the nonsense of the 5 km restriction and allow for outdoor meetings between friends and families. I wish the Cabinet well in its difficult decisions. I hope it will be guided by public health advice but also by the clear message people send us every day concerning the need for fewer restrictions.