Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.12 14 Jul 2021


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Sinn Féin's David Cullinane says indoor dining needs to reopen for everyone, not just vaccinated people.

He says he can't support the Government's "divisive, unfair and unworkable" plan - claiming the necessary legislation is being "rammed" through the Dáil.

Cabinet has signed off on the plans to reopen indoor hospitality and activities for people who can prove their vaccination or COVID-19 immunity status.

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The Dáil and Seanad are being asked to pass the necessary legislation within days, although opposition parties and groups have voiced their opposition to the plans.

On Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Cullinane - who is Sinn Féin's health spokesperson - said the Government has 'scrambled a plan together' that's now being rammed through the Oireahctas.

Indoor dining 'needs to reopen for everyone' - Cullinane

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He said: "I believe it’s divisive, unfair and unworkable. We have a situation where this plan will exclude huge amounts of people - over 800,000 young people, and more people who are over 34 who haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

“I want to see a safe and sustainable reopening of indoor hospitality - I want it open and open safely. But I don’t and can’t support a plan that I believe is divisive, unfair and simply unworkable."

Deputy Cullinane believes there are "better and fairer" options available than the one the Government has come up with.

He suggested it's “unwise and wrong” not to use COVID-19 tests to facilitate reopening, and that air filtration systems could also have been part of the solution.

The Sinn Féin TD argued that changes to the vaccine rollout - including making vaccines available to younger people through pharmacies - need to be factored into NPHET’s modelling around the possible impact of the Delta variant.

Without those measures, Deputy Cullinane said the current plan is one "almost the entire opposition" opposes.

He argued: “It essentially gives a blank cheque to the Minister for Health - it’s being rammed through the Dáil today. We’re being given 90 minutes to debate what is a very serious bill.

“It’s not just imperfect - it’s unfair. When you have bad planning from Government and then you ram legislation through at the eleventh hour without proper scrutiny and debate… that isn’t right."

He insisted he is not someone who would act recklessly, but he believes there's a need to reopen indoor hospitality for everyone in a "safe and sustainable way".

Main image: File photos of David Cullinane (left, Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie) and table in a restaurant (right, Picture by: Matthias Bein/DPA/PA Images)

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