Speaking today at the Social Democrats’ online National Conference, Gary Gannon TD said:

“This weekend marks the first anniversary since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed. Over the past 12 months, our daily news and our personal lives have become entirely dominated by the virus.

“While all of us are looking forward to the day when we can travel, hug, see our family and friends and grieve together for those who are no longer with us, for our party the objective of merely ‘going back to normal’ is not an option. We must build something better. As we stated in our alternative budget 2021, it will not be enough to weather the storm and then return to the Ireland that was.

“The pandemic made visible many aspects of our society that we should never be allowed to unsee. Overnight, waste collectors, cleaners, healthcare workers and retail staff became indispensable to the fabric of our society – but they have always been indispensable. The value of work and payment for work became untangled and it has not gone unnoticed that those we pay the least in our society are those who have mattered most during this crisis.”

Deputy Gannon said that when it came to solutions to the crisis, the answers lay in social democracy, including:

·         A single healthcare system based on need and not the ability to pay was introduced.

·         A social welfare system which could afford a person a standard of living with dignity and comfort was introduced.

·         Security of tenure meant many families and individuals were able to stay in their homes during the crisis, which should always be the case.

·         Early childhood education and care system effectively became State funded through the direct payment of wages of childcare providers. This is a hopeful first step to recognising early childhood education and care as a public rather than private good.

Deputy Gannon added:

“These policies should not just be lifeboats in a crisis. They should be the hull of our ships and the wind in our sails after Covid-19. They have been recognised and implemented as methods to help us navigate our way through this crisis and need to be equally recognised for what will come when this pandemic is behind us.”

February 27, 2021

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