SF have 'exploited the pandemic for political gain' - Burke
Sinn Féin have failed to provide or suggest any meaningful approaches to tackling the Covid crisis, instead exploiting the pandemic for political gain, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Minister of State Peter Burke said that Sinn Féin has taken a "divisive approach to Covid-19 since the very outset of the pandemic".
"Instead of providing a constructive opposition, Sinn Féin have failed to offer any solutions and instead have used populist measures to exploit the situation for electoral gain.
“In her interview on RTE’s Six One News on Tuesday night, Deputy Mary Lou McDonald claimed the government was dithering on Covid – yet she did not set out a single policy that Sinn Féin would have deployed.
“The only point Deputy McDonald made was that Sinn Féin would have rolled out antigen testing and the booster campaign earlier than the government has done. Given that both of these decisions are based on recommendations from NIAC and NPHET, this would have effectively meant going against public health advice.
“Instead of making any meaningful contributions to helping workers and families through the pandemic, Deputy McDonald and her party have opposed for opposition’s sake and have constantly changed their policies depending on the latest topic trending on social media."
Minister Burke also claimed that throughout the pandemic, Sinn Féin has "ignored and undermined NPHET and the public health advice".
“While once advocating for mandatory quarantine for all flights into Ireland, Sinn Féin also wanted people to fly home from abroad last Christmas – against government advice.
“Last autumn, Sinn Féin were calling for the pubs to stay open as case numbers soared – against public health advice.
“Deputy McDonald is ignoring the fact that antigen testing is currently being used in nursing homes, meat plants, third-level colleges, and across the health service – simply because she is not interested in the truth.
“Deputy McDonald is also warning about increased socialisation, while simultaneously complaining about the curfew brought in this week – which is being introduced to tackle increased socialisation. I am calling on her now to lay out her party’s position, and to state the measures she would have taken to curb the alarming spread of Covid-19.
“Sinn Féin’s approach to Covid in the North and South is another example of the party’s blatant flip-flopping and hypocrisy.
“Just two weeks ago, Sinn Féin in Dáil Éireann opposed the extension of Covid-19 emergency powers to allow for the continued use of Covid passes and mask wearing. Today, we see that Sinn Féin in Stormont are considering introducing mandatory Covid passes for access to nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres.
“This inconsistency and divisiveness begs the question – how would Sinn Féin in government actually handle the Covid crisis?
“Fine Gael in government has ensured our approach to Covid-19 has put protecting public health at the top of the agenda, while also providing record levels of support to families, workers and businesses to ensure the protection of livelihoods.
“Fine Gael has protected people during the economic crash and Brexit, and will continue to do so throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” Minister Burke concluded.