Deputy Mattie McGrath's Rural Independent Group seek to revoke Health Regulations Statutory Instrument

Noel Dundon

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Noel Dundon

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nd@tipperarystar.ie

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Tipperary Deputy Mattie McGrath

“The Rural Independent Group are calling on this government to admit they got this one wrong" - Deputy Mattie McGrath.

The Rural Independent Group of which Tipperary Deputy Mattie McGrath is a member, are to bring a Private Members Motion to Dáil Éireann this week seeking to revoke Statutory Instrument No. 326 of 2020 which saw the introduction of many of the Health Regulations and restrictions that have been labelled as bizzare, illogical, and unworkable.

The latest round of restrictions were signed into law by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly without debate in Dáil Éireann or consultation with the hospitality industry. They came into effect on September 3rd and relate to a number of area’s including Restrictions on events in Private Dwellings; Restrictions on events in certain venues; Wedding receptions; Restrictions on sporting events and Restrictions on Training Events.

Following this mornings announcement that Pubs are to re-open from September 21st, many of these restrictions are in fact no longer relevant as they relate to gastro pubs and the requirement to keep records of the substantial meal ordered by every person that enters the premises. They also put restrictions on hotels for example who are permitted to hold weddings of up to 50 people but are restricted to having no more than 6 for all other events.

Speaking ahead of the Motion Independent TD Mattie McGrath called on all members of Dáil Éireann to take this opportunity to debate these restrictions and vote to revoke the statutory instrument as so much of it is illogical.

“We have heard over the last few days members from all parties come out and criticise these restrictions as draconian, illogical and bizarre. We in the Rural Independent Group believe that such restrictions should only be implemented following debate and consultation and we are giving all Members of Dáil Éireann an opportunity to debate the measures and vote to revoke the Statutory instrument which brought them into law.”

Continuing Deputy McGrath said “We have heard from the publicans and the Irish Hotels federation about the huge difficulties facing their sector because of the restrictions imposed on them. They are allowed to hold a wedding for example of up to 50 people but can have no more than 6 for funeral meals, christenings or other important family celebrations.

These celebrations are the fabric of Irish society and are the essence of our communities. The industry has proven that it can implement safety measures to ensure that their customers are healthy and safe but some of these measures just go too far and are causing huge damage to such an important sector, particularly in Rural Ireland.”

“The Rural Independent Group are calling on this government to admit they got this one wrong, refocus their energies, consult with the industry and find ways to allow these important sectors to operate in a safe manner but a manner which does not damage their very reason for being.”

These restrictions also relate to sporting and training events and at a time when NPHET are asking people to focus on outside gatherings it makes little or no sense that sporting and training events would be restricted in the manner that they are.

The Rural Independent Group are asking Government to revoke Statutory Instrument No. 326 of 2020 and to start again in a manner that keeps a focus on the important steps of hand and respiratory hygiene while allowing society to operate in a safe but logical manner. The Motion will be debated on Wednesday afternoon in Dáil Éireann and brought to a vote on Thursday.