It is ‘ironic’ that the Government is forcing people to get vaccinated for indoor dining when it backed the ‘my body, my choice’ slogan during the abortion referendum.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae said he has “grave concerns” about the regulations prevent unvaccinated people from entering a pub or restaurant.
He said the Government should have made widespread use of antigen testing – with those who test negative allowed in with everyone else.
“There is an irony in this,” he said. “Not too long ago we had a referendum in this country and the Government kept saying: ‘Your body your choice, you make up your mind and this is your vote.’
“Now, all of the sudden the Government are saying well we don’t care about your body; or to word it a different way, we care so much about it that we are telling you, you must do this; we are not giving you a choice.”
He suggested that the reason antigen testing wasn’t rolled out was due to fears it would reduce the numbers of people coming forward for vaccination.
“The reason why the Government didn’t want to go down that road was because they didn’t want to say to people, well this is an alternative to the vaccine,” he said. “Because they want to promote the vaccine.”
He said he has been approached by many people who have concerns about the vaccine.
“For instance, if you have a young lady who, we will say, please God, in the future wants to become pregnant,” he said.
“If she or her partner have concerns about the vaccine – and I am not saying whether they are right or wrong – if they were genuinely worried, could you honestly blame that young girl for not wanting to take the vaccine?
“You couldn’t because you would say, it is her freedom of choice.”
Deputy Healy Rae also voiced concerns about plans to vaccinate children aged 12 to 15-years-old.
“Again, parents have been saying to me that they are not anxious to have children of that age being vaccinated,” he said.
“It comes back to what I was saying about freedom of choice and about freedom of what you want to do. Parents don’t want to find themselves coerced into this.”
The Government has made it clear that vaccination will not be a requirement for children to return to school and, on The Hard Shoulder this week, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the rollout “is all going to be about parental choice and parental consent.”
"Blow it out in bubbles"
Deputy Healy Rae was also asked about the President Michael D Higgins’ warning that he was being asked to consider too much legislation in too little time.
He said his message for the President was simple: “Suck it up and blow it out in bubbles.”
“A lot of legislation has been passed through the Dáil over the last number of months and indeed weeks and yes of course the President’s job is to go through it.
“There are lot of hours in the day and my recommendation with the upmost of respect is start very early in the morning, stay at it late at night and yes you will get through it, it is there to be done.
“I have every confidence in him that he will rise to the challenge and he will be able to scrutinise and go through it in the best way possible.”
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