At Leader’s Briefing today, Richard Boyd Barrett will challenge Taoiseach on 3 day school week for leaving cert students , private hospital deal, vaccine supplies, enforcement of non-essential workplace closures and need for Zero Covid strategy
In a statement this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett TD said he would be attending a Leader’s Briefing at 4pm with the Taoiseach and outlined the issues he would be raising.
The People Before Profit TD will be challenging the Taoiseach on the proposal that leaving cert students return to school – calling it “frankly ludicrous” in the current climate where community transmission is at an all-time high.
He will be demanding details of the deal being planned with the private hospitals and private testing labs and calling for both to be taken fully under public control rather than a “cozy deal” using tax payers money to provide more profits to some of the richest consoritums in the country
The Dún Laoghaire TD will be pointing out the achingly slow pace of vaccination and also demanding extra resources for HSA inspectors to ensure the enforcement of non-essential workplace closures
Boyd Barrett also pointed out that the 3rd wave will not be the last wave unless the government abandons the failed and discredited “Living with Covid” strategy and adopts a strategy to drive community transmission down to zero.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The government’s mantra of “schools being safe” is frankly ludicrous in the current climate where community transmission, hospital admissions and numbers in ICU are at an all time high.
Leaving Cert students should NOT be pushed back into school next week, teachers should not be forced to put their health and the health of their families at risk in the current context. The final year of school is already stressful without the government adding to the pressure with ill thought out plans that have been hatched without consultation, and are only adding to the anxiety for both teachers and pupils.
Furthermore, the government should not repeat the eleventh hour decision making of last year, and should now allow students to choose whether or not they sit the exams in June
“In the first wave the government did a deal costing hundreds of millions with the private hospitals, it is unthinkable, in the middle of a health emergency the private hospitals would be trying to extort a profit from this crisis. The government should immediately requisition the private capacity at cost price.
“I will also be insisting that the government resource the Health and Safety Authority so that inspectors are able to police the closure of non-essential workplaces properly and pointing out that the rollout of the vaccine is achingly slow. We believe all intellectual property and patent issues that may be inhibiting the wider mass production of vaccines must be shelved as a matter of urgency.
“Finally I will be challenging the Taoiseach on the fact that the third wave will not be the last wave unless that government abandons its failed strategy of “living with covid” and adopts an aggressive new strategy to drive community transmission down to zero and invest in the tracking, tracing and public health infrastructure to do so.