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Extending opening hours will lead to bigger problems

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Pubs and restaurants remain closed, but now there is talk of opening hours being extended when they do finally reopen.

Pubs and restaurants remain closed, but now there is talk of opening hours being extended when they do finally reopen.

Pubs and restaurants remain closed, but now there is talk of opening hours being extended when they do finally reopen.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard the Justice Minister speaking about extending opening hours for pubs, restaurants and nightclubs when they are finally back in business. One can only conclude that such a move is to pacify the owners of these establishments, who have been working hard to be compliant with the law and who are suffering because of the total mismanagement by the Government when the lockdowns are in place.

If mandatory quarantine had been implemented in the first lockdown, many lives could have been saved and a testing-and-tracing system implemented on an ongoing basis. If anyone thinks self-isolation is something that would be adhered to by reckless people who swan off on their sun holidays, then I ask if you believe in fairies.

I ask the minister how much thought has gone into this plan regarding pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. Was the Road Safety Authority consulted? Were the gardaí informed?  

How many times have we read about accidents very late at night or early in the morning? The fact is that alcohol has been a contributing factor in a lot of those cases.

J O’Connell

Co Galway

Our leaders are too strict and need to be reined in by media

Let me first say that I am a proud citizen of Ireland. I have brought up and given to our society two healthy, well-educated, smart and kind children.

They are two young adults to whom I taught respect for both the people and the law, as well as how to be independent and sensible in mind.

My son is 20, a college student. He recently said to me: “Mum, the only big mistake our Government made in the management of the Covid-19 fight was to not close the borders completely in the first days of lockdown.” He cites the success of countries such as New Zealand, China, Japan and Australia in doing just that.

I have to agree with him, and it feels like most of the population are on the same page. Our Government and the gardaí continue to do an excellent job. But I can’t help feeling they can be too strict at times. The media does not do enough to rein them in.

Entire businesses, both small and large, have been closed for the large part of the past year.

It does not surprise me to see small businesses reopening, even in breach of the law. They have done this out of a desperate need to survive.

Which all leads me to one simple question: Where is the risk of becoming infected with Covid-19 higher, in a busy supermarket with people walking close to you, or in a beauty salon or pub with proper social distancing in place?

Kukunai Balkabekova

Dublin Eye

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Violent protesters should stop and think of our silent heroes

A healthcare worker rose at 5.30am last Saturday. She left her house at 6.30am to travel on public transport to the nursing home where she works. Her shift started at 8am. She finished at 9pm and was collected from the bus stop at 9.35pm. She had dinner at 10pm that night. She had just completed a 13-hour shift, the last one of a long 48-hour week, with no extra pay for Saturday, dutifully caring for frail, elderly Irish folk.

Those right-wing violent protesters in Dublin city centre last Saturday really should reflect carefully on the alleged denial of their human rights and on their self-claimed patriotism.

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Pandemics don’t care about ringed-off dates on a calendar

I would like to address last Saturday’s article from Larissa Nolan (‘With no end to lockdown in sight, society is going to snap’, Irish Independent, February 27). Ms Nolan states Ireland is ­currently the strictest lockdown in Europe.

This may possibly be true at this time, but she failed to recall, or doesn’t deem relevant, that in early January Ireland had the highest Covid infection rates in the world, never mind Europe.

She also omitted the fact that lockdown statuses in Europe are fluid and ever-changing. What may be relaxed for one country this week could be very different the following week.

Have we had curfews enforced upon us in Ireland? No. The entire nations of Italy, Netherlands, France and Spain are currently under curfew. Spain’s curfew is to remain until May.

Think about that. Literally not allowed leave your home in the evening. Does she not deem that to be strict? Aside from curfews, restrictions are more or less the same across Europe, yet Ms Nolan maintains that we are the “outliers”. It’s simply not true.

She states that “two polls suggested a collapse of public buy-in” but doesn’t mention the recent Irish Times poll that showed 43pc of people think the level of restrictions are about right.

Ms Nolan then refers to the promised date of June 21 in Britain, when all restrictions will be lifted, citing it as “a promise of reward”. She’d do well to remember that this is coming from the same prime minister who promised Britain that they’d “send Covid packing” in March 2020.

That our Government hasn’t given a date for a total lifting of lockdown is common sense. It’s a global pandemic, they tend to be unpredictable and care little for ringed-off dates on a calendar.

Sean Grant

Lower Kevin’s Street, Dublin 8

Online Editors


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