Seanad debates

Friday, 7 May 2021

European Digital Green Certificate: Statements


10:30 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am simply saying, and the Senator has to take this on board, that our vulnerability lies in the fact our health establishment saw a problem and did nothing about it for ten years. That is the reality. It had reports saying there was a problem and it did nothing about it. It did other things. It built children's hospitals, or started to build children's hospitals. It did other things but it did not address that issue.

What I am saying is that we now face a situation where there could be a recrudescence of this and some new variant could sweep over us. We have to now prepare for what should be done in future if facing this kind of pandemic situation. It is not something to be done in two years' time. We need now to work out what was right and what was wrong about the steps that were taken to deal with the pandemic. Was it really necessary to close down our building industry? Was it necessary to do these things? Did the 5 km limit, 25 km limit or whatever other limits really work? We have never worked that out either and somebody has to work it out but the last group of people who should be allowed to pass judgment on this are the same health hierarchy who brought in these measures. I am saying that we need now to begin to work on these issues. Bill Gates said a few years ago that this was going to happen. It is not something which has come from nowhere, and it could easily come again.

I want to say this about Ireland's response. This is the last time we will be sitting on a Friday for some time, perhaps, which I deeply regret and which I opposed yesterday when these decisions were made. However, these Houses are a Parliament of a sovereign State. We have to get our act together to make sure that we start working again, that the Dáil comes back into this Chamber and uses it, that the Seanad goes back to its Chamber and uses it, that it sits three days a week and that its committee work is done.


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