Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, John Carroll, has hit out the imposition of a new Covid-19 lockdown in Offaly, Laois and Kildare.
"After five months of coping with the effects of Covid-19, which has had a huge effect on the people of Offaly, they were dealt a devastating blow this Friday evening when Government reimposed a lockdown on our county together with our neighbours in Laois and Kildare," he said.
"Concern has been raised previously over how positive results by workers in meat processing plants were dealt with. The public is again critical of how outbreaks are now being dealt with. They definitely don’t believe the proper response is to close down counties when closing the the affected plants and introducing intensive testing in a 10/15 km radius of the premises could be adequate.
"A testing station is now been reintroduced in Offaly at a site of the previous station, why was this closed when we were assured that a high level of testing was the best method of combatting the virus.
"At this point in time we know Birr has had a total of 19 confirmed cases since the start of Covid with Ferbane having 5 and Banagher 8. With those numbers, how can the powers that be justify closing down all the businesses in those communities.
"I do not have a problem with lockdown per se for the welfare of people but it must be reasonable and must be rational.
"What is happening here is a death knell to many businesses that we had just supported to re-open and who were operating at a loss hoping things would improve, realising the need for towns and villages to be operational and bring hope back to communities.
"It is a done deal without any consultation with the people’s representatives. We have no choice but to work within the constraints imposed.
"While there is no scheduled meeting of Offaly County Council arranged before September, presently I am leaning towards calling an emergency one in the coming days to give our public representatives the opportunity to respond on behalf of our county. This together with the permanent closure of Shannonbridge power station and peat harvesting by Bord na Mona are devastating blows to our Midland economies," he concluded.