Reacting to today’s announcement of renewed restrictions, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:

“Today’s news will come as a bitter blow to the hospitality industry and other businesses affected by the renewed restrictions and the very many workers who will be laid off. It will also be met with disappointment by families who were hoping to spend more time together for the duration of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“However, the sharp rise in cases in recent days, along with the new strain of Covid-19 identified in the UK, are cause for serious concern and it is vital that the Government follows the latest public health advice and acts decisively and quickly.”

Deputy Shortall also renewed her call on the Government to take a new approach based on an all-island strategy on Covid-19 which would aim for minimisation of the virus.

She added:

“There is now an opportunity to work in lockstep with Northern Ireland to develop an all-island strategy, with full alignment of restrictions on either side of the border including a coherent strategy on international travel. Such an approach should be pursued under the legal framework of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I believe that such a strategy would be much more successful than the current ‘Living with Covid’ plan and would be likely to have widespread cross-party support.

“It is simply not socially or economically sustainable for the country to be yo-yoing from one lockdown to the next. The Government needs to work with all political parties, north and south, to develop a strategy to minimise the spread of the virus until such time as a vaccination programme has been successfully rolled out across the wider population.

“The vaccine has given us hope that we will be able to return to some sort of normality, but the reality is that we will not achieve that until mid-2021. In the meantime, the Government needs to develop a new strategy.”

December 22, 2020

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