The Aontú rep for the Laytown electoral area Peter Whelan has hit out at the lack of alternative suggestions that were considered prior to the government introducing an 8 pm closing time to the hospitality sector.

The restriction came into force at midnight and Whelan was not impressed.

He told Meath Live, “It is unbelievable that this social and economic bombshell has been dropped within hours of the Dáil closing for a one month holiday. A decision of this magnitude should not be made without democratic oversight.

“The elected representatives of the people and the leaders of the opposition, should not be watching on like observers when decisions this damaging to the fabric of society are being made yet democratic deficit has been the policy since the start of the covid crisis.

“The latest Nphet advice has come when thankfully the number of people in hospital has dropped to a two month low. I understand that we have to be cautious. I understand that there is an unknown threat that we can’t control.
“However there are many things we can control in order to protect life . Hospital beds are 6,000 fewer than what’s needed. ICU beds are 250 fewer than what’s needed. The lack of government investment is a bigger threat to hospital capacity than the Covid virus at the moment.
“Nothing has been done to radically improve ventilation in hospitality. Nothing has been done to introduce venue access antigen testing to stop the circulation of the virus in pubs and restaurants. It is deeply frustrating and damaging that the government has ignored these critical measures an increase in capacity is needed for the one million people on hospital waiting lists anyway.
“Are the government serious about selling the idea that a healthy young person triple vaccinated along with their Covid pass can’t have a pint after 8 pm?“Not too many will buy that.”