Pandemic recovery plan offers only a 'wing and a prayer' Dáil told

Pandemic recovery plan offers only a 'wing and a prayer' Dáil told

Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday unveiled the new Resilience and Recovery 2021 plan, which will see Level Five restrictions continue until April 5 at the earliest. Pic: Julien Behal Photography.

The Government's revised pandemic plan is a "wing and a prayer" strategy that contains nothing to give people hope, the Dáil has heard.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday unveiled the new Resilience and Recovery 2021 plan, which will see Level Five restrictions continue until April 5 at the earliest.

But Labour leader Alan Kelly attacked the plan during Leaders' Questions on Wednesday, saying it contained nothing new and is entirely reliant on vaccines.

He said: "It's a hope and see strategy. There's nothing in it. There's nothing new in it that we didn't know already, it's basically a wing and a prayer and it's totally reliant on vaccines.

"There's nothing there to give people hope. The people are in despair.

"I have never in my political career felt the despair I have over the last number of weeks, particularly given all the communications failures that you've had.

"And my real issue is that there are no new tools to suppress the virus, nothing in the plan to suppress the virus. Let's just wait for the vaccines."

The Taoiseach responded by saying the tools needed to suppress the virus have not changed, regardless of the emergence of new variants of Covid-19.

He said: "The suppressing of the virus, irrespective of form, doesn't change in terms of what we must do as a society.

"It doesn't actually change according to the public health experts. What I mean by that is the social distancing, the avoidance of congregation.

"That's what drives down virus levels. We should be driven by data and not dates. You haven't specified any metrics this morning in your contribution."

Mr Martin also defended the reliance on vaccines, saying there is already evidence that they are working.

He said: "Vaccination is working already in our hospital care settings. It is having a dramatic effect on reducing infection among frontline health care workers.

"(We are) One of the few countries that targeted that area, in terms of the vaccination programme and it is working.

"It's having a real impact, and it will have an impact on older people, and on those who are most vulnerable."

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