Offaly councillor calls for immediate lifting of 'unwarranted' lockdown of county
An Offaly councillor has called for the immediate lifting of what he describes as the 'unwarranted' of lockdown in Offaly and Laois.
Following the reintroduction of lockdown measures in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, last week, Fine Gael Councillor Noel Cribbin has called on Government to immediately lift the measures in Offaly and Laois as neither county has experienced the same level of increases in Covid-19 cases as Co. Kildare.
Cllr Cribbin said that while he recognised that Government is acting with the best interests of the people in mind, he called for 'greater perspective' on the situation in Laois and Offaly
He said that further thought needed to be given to the economic impact that lockdown has already had on the residents in both counties.
Cllr Cribbin said, "I feel strongly that these restrictions in Laois and Offaly are unwarranted. New cases of the virus in Kildare have been in the hundreds, with three meat plants affected and 150 cases of Covid-19 recorded in one single meat processing facility in the county.
"After five months of closures many businesses were only weeks into reopening. To have it announced on the 6pm news last Friday that businesses were to shut their doors again from 12 midnight was completely wrong. Many hotels, restaurants and pubs had bookings taken for the weekend. These bookings were immediately wiped with no chance for the businesses to offload food stocks that can’t be stored."
Cllr Cribbin went on to say that local representatives in the area were not consulted on the new measures and if they had been, the decision reached might have been different.
He believes a better way to deal with the increase in cases involves the implementation of stricter regimes in meat processing plants which have experienced significant spikes in cases among their employees
He continued, "meat plants are a haven for Covid and there needs to be testing regimes implemented ASAP. The Government already has at its disposal the use of the Citywest Hotel for the isolation of people affected by the virus, if their living conditions are not suitable to aid their recovery and stop further spread of the virus. Now is the time to utilise that facility."
In relation to payment for people impacted by the virus, Cllr. Cribbin said that anyone testing positive should immediately be given the Covid 19 payment, until such a time as they have twice tested negative for the virus, and it is safe for them to go back to work.
He also called for a financial stimulus package.
"I call for a full financial package to all businesses affected by the sudden closures. To close Offaly is totally wrong and that decision should be reversed. Reopen businesses and let people get back to working and supporting their families as far as is possible," concluded an irate Cllr. Cribbin.