THE GOVERNMENT'S plan to allow only fully vaccinated and immune people to dine and drink indoors in cafés, restaurants and bars has been blasted as 'discriminatory' and 'bananas' by a Labour TD in a speech which has been shared across Ireland.
`Labour leader Alan Kelly TD took to the floor of the Dáil yesterday following the announcement that the planned 5 July reopening of indoor dining would be delayed for a number of weeks, with new plans set to allow only people who have been fully vaccinated, or who have recently recovered from Covid-19, to dine indoors.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed yesterday that by 19 July, a plan would be set out which would eventually allow fully vaccinated people to dine indoors, though a date has not been set for when this would be implemented.
The decision has caused huge controversy across Ireland, with both the general public and politicians voicing their anger at the plans, as the current vaccine roll-out is seeing people over the age of 35 receiving their first dose of the jab this week.
As the hospitality sector is largely staffed by younger people and students, questions have been raised as to whether young people would be expected to serve older vaccinated people indoors but would be banned from dining or drinking indoor themselves.
TD Alan Kelly yesterday condemned the decision, calling it "absolutely bananas", "discriminatory" and "unenforceable".
"It is shocking stuff," he said. "It is amateur hour. When did Government discrimination become the norm in Ireland?
The govt are expecting unvaccinated young people to continue working in hospitality and retail sectors but not be allowed sit indoors for a pint or a meal @alankellylabour has said this is bananas, the young people of Ireland deserve better ✊🌹 pic.twitter.com/Njffsuetp8
— The Labour Party (@labour) June 29, 2021
"The Government is saying to young people today that we are all in this together except when it gets to a stage where those of us who have been vaccinated want to get out and enjoy ourselves this summer. That is what we are really saying and that, by the way, we also want younger people to continue working to serve us in bars, restaurants, pubs and everywhere else because we need them to do so even though they are not vaccinated, and that public health covers this. It is shocking stuff.
"The Government is saying I can get a meal down the street in a restaurant or go for a pint but my colleague, Deputy Duncan Smith, cannot do it. I would have to leave him outside the door. That is discrimination and it is wrong. In Ireland we do not practice discrimination and the Government should certainly not push it."
He warned that the plans would "break social cohesion and divide the people of this country", and pointed out that while it would be illegal for a young person in Ireland to have a pint indoors, "it is not illegal ... to go to Northern Ireland or get a flight to Spain and have as many meals or drinks as they want. Again, it is not practical but most of all, it is discriminatory."
"We are essentially saying to the young people of Ireland that their summer will consist of sitting at home and watching "Love Island" because that is what we think of them.
"We are no longer in this together."
Responding, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said that the plans are not yet solidly in place, rather it is a way to "establish a plan that gives us a further, certain path to a reopening that will not see reopening and then closing again".
He argued: "There is no discrimination behind the Government's intent, but we did have to listen to the analysis presented by the health officials."
A video of Alan Kelly's speech has been shared across social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.