Sinn Féin leader criticises 'chaotic' approach to the reopening of indoor hospitality on visit to Cork

Sinn Féin leader criticises 'chaotic' approach to the reopening of indoor hospitality on visit to Cork

Liadh Ní Riada (Cork North West general election candidate), Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin Party leader, Tim O'Mahony, CEO and Nathalie Wood watch the dogs in action during a demonstration at the Irish Guide Dogs for The Blind on Model Farm Road, Cork on Thursday. Picture: Larry Cummins 

THE leader of the Sinn Féin party has criticised what she described as a “chaotic” approach to the reopening of indoor hospitality which has left businesses without clarity with just days to go before they can welcome customers back inside.

Mary Lou McDonald made the comments whilst in Cork visiting the National Headquarters and Training Centre of the Irish Guide Dogs.

“I accept that this is a difficult time to be in Government. However, the level of disorganisation, confusion, last-minute approaches to things is just astonishing, and at this stage [of the Covid-19 crisis] is really not acceptable,” she said, speaking to The Echo.

From Monday, indoor hospitality can resume for those who are fully vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid in the last six months.

However, regulations for the reopening of indoor hospitality have yet to be published.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said these regulations will be published “no later than this weekend.”

Ms McDonald said she believes PCR and antigen testing should have been used to fully reopen the sector.

“For some reason, the Government didn’t want to hear that. I don’t understand that.

 Liadh Ní Riada (Cork North West general election candidate), and Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin party leader with Tim O'Mahony, CEO as he briefs the visitors to the Irish Guide Dogs for The Blind on Model Farm Road, Cork on Thursday. Picture: Larry Cummins 
Liadh Ní Riada (Cork North West general election candidate), and Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin party leader with Tim O'Mahony, CEO as he briefs the visitors to the Irish Guide Dogs for The Blind on Model Farm Road, Cork on Thursday. Picture: Larry Cummins 

“What I know is that we now have a situation where indoor hospitality will reopen [from Monday] and on Thursday there’s still confusion.” 

“I firmly believe where you’re fair with people and where you’re clear with people, people will play ball.

“People will observe the regulations and the rules but where you cause confusion and where you disregard people and you’re not fair to people, that’s where we get into difficulty."

Meanwhile, speaking in relation to the housing crisis, Ms McDonald said there are a number of "quick actions" the Government could take to improve the situation.

“What we [Sinn Féin] want is a month’s rent put back in the pocket of every renter through a tax credit and that could be done now and should be done now. 

“We want to cut rents and then we want to freeze them for three years.

“The Government say that there is a constitutional problem with that, we have legal advice to the contrary. We don't accept that view and in any event, the Government should intervene to protect renters with a rent freeze," she said.

“We need to stop the practice of handing over public land to private developers to make a killing on. 

“Public lands for public housing and by that, yes I mean social housing but I also mean affordable housing that young workers and couples and families can buy their own home and affordable rental, where people who may never wish to buy their own home but who will know that at an affordable rate, they can have a security of tenure."

Her comments came as yesterday it was reported that the Government's 'Housing For All' plan, which was expected to be published this month, has been delayed. 

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