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Stop Dithering And Put The People First

by Hotel Restaurant Times
02/03/2021

Stop Dithering And Put The People First!

Time for a National Government

Covid is what I am calling the war of our generation and the resulting hardship and uncertainty similar to what our parents experienced during the second world war.

Like so many self-employed within the hospitality sector I am extremely concerned about where the industry is headed. I have spent in excess of 22 years building up the business and am now watching the sector balance on a cliff edge waiting on leadership from our government. 

I am sick to death of the continual dithering and procrastination of the current government and equally of the cheap point scoring of opposition parties within the current Dáil.  Stop the self-serving behaviour and work as a collective, as a NATIONAL GOVERNMENT for all of the people of the country irrespective of which party they support.

I, like so many in the hospitality sector have been unable to work since March of last year. When Covid first entered our shores, I accepted that the decisions made at the time, were put forward as what was best for the country. We all donned the Irish jersey and did our bit.  But lately, I have become more and more disillusioned with what I am hearing and experiencing.

The cliche we are all in this together really irks me, we are not all in it together. The recent pay hike for senior civil servants, including TDs and teachers etc just reinforces that disconnect. So many in hospitality would love the opportunity to have work to go to and were absolutely seething at the prevaricating of the INTO etc recently regarding going back to schools. I seem to recall many years ago in USA, air traffic controllers went on strike, and Ronald Regan the then President, sacked them all. That had the impact of focussing the mind. We need a government with real conviction, not this dithering, inane carryon that we are seeing. People are at their wits end, no end in sight, no sense of a real plan to ensure they have a business or job to go back to. Yet we have our Taoiseach doing interview after interview, dramatic addresses to the nation, but nothing of substance happening.

The vaccine rollout is shambolic. We recently witnessed Minister Donnelly on TV appear as the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights. Totally out of touch with what was occurring re schools reopening. He talked about meetings about talks about talks……… therein is the nub of the issue. Talking but no real leadership. Again, we recently had an interview with the Taoiseach at a centre being commissioned at a high cost I bet, to enable the vaccine programme take place.  Why can we not engage the Army, Garda, Civil Defence, FCA etc and get the vaccine distributed around the country. The remark about security as a reason for not using churches and large centres was so bizarre. Just place armed soldiers or Garda at these venues. Look across the Irish sea and see how Boris, despite what we think about him, is getting the job done. 

Our neighbours in the North of Ireland have over 500,000 completely vaccinated since they began the rollout in December 2020. They set up 8 centres and got on with the programme. Their economy will by this fact alone have the ability to recover quicker than their southern cousins.

The mandatory quarantining is just another example of the lack of decision making. Other countries have it in place, and it’s been accepted and respected. Another worrying scenario is that of people congregating outside the pop-up coffee takeaway stations, with little or no social distancing or indeed mask wearing always in evidence. I appreciate restaurants are attempting to generate revenue, but the marshalling outside some premises is definitely concerning. This virus and its various mutations appear to thrive at every opportunity to infect where people gather.      

We have had almost a year to put actions in place, but alas we are no further on, and the future is not looking that bright at this point in time. I really hope I am proved wrong.

This would not happen in the private sector, just look how innovative those in business have responded to the crisis. That says it all, they have skin in the game.

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