VACCINATIONS CANCELLED WITHOUT WARNING! Almost a hundred people over 85 years, in Ballyfermot today, were left worried and anxious when the vaccinations they were expecting to have, failed to materialise. No warning from the HSE. No answer at the other end of the phone. Just typical of FF,FG, Greens cock-up in what they do about Covid. WE NEED TO MAINTAIN SOCIAL SOLIDARITY to beat this thing, and that’s just what the government are squandering with their shoddy arrangements, and ridiculous new Bill, that won’t impose quarantine for non essential travel for another 4 weeks, and even then, in the most incomplete, half-assed way. I spoke in the Dáil today about this.

I spoke on The Tonight Show last night about the HALF-ASSED GOVERNMENT PLAN ON QUARANTINE. While we can’t travel more than 5 kms from home, there are, and will continue to be, plane-loads arriving here from 5,000kms away, and who is monitoring where they go?? And what have they done to make school safe? or to ensure adequate vaccine supplies?

So the schools are set for gradual re-opening. ARE WE SURE IT’S SAFE? The government have had nearly a year to improve safety, to ensure proper space and ventilation, to employ more teachers. But have they? Not that I can see. Our communities include the children. They must be safe if the wider community is also to be safe. The worry is YOU CAN TRUST FF/FG/GREENS ON NOTHING!

Abuse of workers, and of farmers, is widespread in the meat industry. We know this. We also know that with Covid in the mix, this has enormous health implications for the mostly migrant workers, and the communities they live in. And yes, new guidelines have been brought in. But are they enforced? Who’s checking? Are there UNANNOUNCED site visits? I put these and other questions to the Minister in the Dáil

I asked the Tánaiste yesterday what had been done about making schools safe, or even safer. All very well talking about opening up to the schools, but 16-18 year olds are a particularly high-risk group. So, during their closure, have they improved school class rooms? recruited more teachers, improved ventilation? Still waiting.

We can’t make a mockery of being “…all in it together”, not if we want the continued support of the most important people – the workers. If we want to get through this pandemic, then we have to ensure that workers are looked after. Cuts to the wage subsidy scheme, leaving people on €203 a week is shameful. As is the ‘claw-back’ of various tax breaks that were helping people along. The Govt must insist that employers top-up workers wages – it’s not for luxury – it’s to help get through this rotten time.

That children with special needs can go back to school soon is to be welcomed. But it must be safe. That’s only fair to the children themselves, their families and the teachers and school staff, and their families. And in particular, safe for the special needs assistants (SNAs) who do heroic work, the nature of which often leaves them most exposed to catching the virus. Schools must appropriately equipped and managed to ensure optimum safety.