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19/09/2021

Offaly TD urges President not to sign vaccine pass law

Offaly TD urges President not to sign vaccine pass law

EU Digital Covid pass

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has urged President Michael D Higgins not to sign the government's proposed legislation on vaccine passes for the hospitality sector.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after Cabinet signed off on the controversial proposals which will see access to indoor dining limited to those who can confirm they have been fully vaccinated or who have medical proof that they have already recovered from Covid.

The Rural Independent Group, of which Deputy Nolan is a member, is instead to bring forward a private members motion in the Dáil on Wednesday calling on government to allow businesses to reopen without what it describes as the "discriminatory vaccine system" as a mandatory requirement.

“President Higgins, in his former life as a respected parliamentarian, was always to the forefront in calling out instances of major political injustices," Deputy Nolan said.

"To our minds, this proposed system is just such an instance and it must be resisted if our motion is opposed and the legislation is pushed through on foot of the government's majority in the Dáil.

"President Higgins has the capacity to refer the Bill to the Council of State for deliberation and indeed the Supreme Court to verify its constitutionality. I believe this is what he should do.

"This is a profoundly new and dangerous departure in terms of Irish legislation.

"Our private members motion calls on government not to abandon all restrictions, but merely to allow hospitality businesses across the State to responsibly carry on their trade and to allow attendance at sporting and religious events, subject only to non-discriminatory limitations as are necessary and proportionate in the interests of public safety. 

"By no stretch of the imagination can the system proposed by government be seen as non-discriminatory or proportionate. 

"It is irredeemably discriminatory in the most negative sense. 

"It is also coercive and controlling.  

"In fact, it not just bad law, it is a contorted and twisted version of what a good law should be.  

"For those reasons, I believe it is vital that President Higgins does not rush to sign the legislation that will be brought before him.

"The government has the option, if it can generate the political will, to take the road we are proposing and simply allow businesses, sporting events and religious places of worship to re-open without recourse to a complex, time-consuming and deeply unethical system of state surveillance of peoples private medical status,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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