People Before Profit’s New Year Message

2021 arrives with a small light at the end of the tunnel – a vaccine may help us fight Covid 19. We need to be ready to mobilise in big numbers when we can against two failed governments.

The Stormont Executive and the FG-FF-Green government have presided over a disastrous COVID policy.

Countries like Taiwan with a population of 27 million people experienced only seven deaths. New Zealand with a population of approximately five million has had a relatively low death toll of 25. Comparatively, the death toll from Covid on the island of Ireland with a population of 7million people has been over 3,500.

On every step of the way, these two governments put the interests of business over people’s health. Repeatedly, when warned, they closed their ears and opened up the economy, resulting in a rapid spreading of the virus.

In early December, for example, NPHET predicted that there would be a spike in cases if shops were re-opened. That is exactly what happened. We are back to the yo-yo lockdowns despite almost crushing the virus in the summer. Both governments failed to co-operate and utilise our advantage as an island to implement elimination and a Zero Covid strategy.

The pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities in Irish society. It has spread faster amongst the poor because they live in overcrowded homes or work in the low paid services or have no sick schemes.  It has exposed an underfunded health services, ravaged by nefarious cuts. Why, many ask, were we paying out €140 million a month to private hospitals – owned by the likes of Denis O Brien or Larry Goodman- when these should have been in public ownership?