New restrictions must be linked to coherent All-Ireland strategy, restoration of PUP, mortgage moratorium and evictions ban
People Before Profit have said that due to the misguided government decision two weeks ago to ignore the advice of their own public health team that we face the likelihood of longer lockdown and that the economic hardship will be worse as a result.
At the time People Before Profit were the only party to support the NPHET recommendations for level 5 restrictions.
The party said the decision to impose more restrictions must be linked to a coherent strategy on an All-Ireland basis with the restoration, as a minimum, of the economic supports that were needed during the first lockdown in March/April, including the full restoration of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the wage subsidy scheme, and a reinstatement of the evictions ban and the moratorium on mortgage repayments.
They said that a coherent and properly resourced plan to get control of the Covid 19 virus was essential to avoid going in and out of lockdowns indefinitely.
They pointed out that this should include the funding of adequate testing and tracing infrastructure, proper staffing levels in public health teams and the wider health service, and the restoration of the economic supports to ensure maximum public buy-in to the restrictions.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The government decision to ignore the public health advice two weeks ago means we are now facing the likelihood of a longer lockdown over the coming weeks. This will mean even more economic hardship for hundreds of thousands of people.
“The imposition of more restrictions, expected tonight, must now be linked to a coherent strategy to deal with the virus so we can avoid the possibility of going in and out of longer lockdowns indefinitely, which would have pretty dire social and economic ramifications.
“The government must now implement a coherent strategy to bring us out of the lockdown yo-yo. This requires an All-Ireland approach involving rapidly establishing a state-of-the-art testing and tracing regime, including serious increases in staffing levels in our public health teams.
“Restoration of the PUP to its full level, the eviction ban, and mortgage moratorium are also absolutely essential if we are to achieve the necessary buy-in from the public to further restrictions. Not taking these measures risks the social solidarity which was the key to bringing the virus levels down previously.”
Gerry Carroll MLA added: “Both governments have failed us during this pandemic by dithering, pandering to business interests, and refusing to adopt an all-island approach. We only have to look to New Zealand to see what is possible from a co-ordinated Zero-Covid strategy which doesn’t shy away from fronting the necessary financial support to get communities and the health service through this pandemic.
“Frankly, if those in charge North and South are unwilling to learn the mistakes of the first wave and implement a Zero-Covid strategy which is our best hope of crushing this virus in the absence of a vaccine, they are unfit to lead us through this crisis.”