June 18, 2021

‘Putting people’s lives at risk’ – Waterford TD hits out at crowds who flocked to local beaches despite Covid-19 warnings

Thousands of people who ignored appeals to maintain social distancing by flocking in huge numbers to beaches across Waterford yesterday are “putting people’s lives at risk,” a local TD has said.

Deputy David Cullinane spoke out after pictures of crowds of people decending on Tramore and other local beauty spots in the sunshine went viral.

Many people took to social media to express their anger and dismay at the crowds amid fears Ireland will face the same type of nightmare scenario unfolding in Italy, where over 5,500 people have already died from the coronavirus.

One of these was local Sinn Féin poll topper David Cullinane, who said: “Reports of several beaches in Waterford and Cork today packed with people not adhering to social distancing. This is highly irresponsible and is putting lives at risk. Please, please listen to the advice.”

Deputy Cullinane later issued a press release in which he said “it is time to scale up emergency measures and restrictions to combat Covid-19”.

He added: “Other countries have learned, to their cost, that delay costs lives and we don’t want to learn that lesson here.”

The Waterford TD also criticised what he described as “mixed messages” from the Government.

Deputy Cullinane (pictured below) said: “In the space of a few short weeks, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused levels of national and international disruption unprecedented in our lifetimes.

“Welcome interventions have been made to get ahead of this virus, to slow it down and to ‘flatten the curve’, but the truth is that we now need more urgent, decisive action from the government. They need to be taking every necessary measure to save lives.

“Social distancing is central to this strategy, but Government Ministers can’t criticise young people for gathering together, while at the same time saying that gathering of up to five hundred people outdoors are still allowed. The mixed messages must stop.

“Images circulating on social media of large congregations at beaches and popular mountain spots without adhering to social distancing guidelines is disappointing. Failure to act will cost lives.”

Deputy Cullinane also outlined Sinn Féin’s plan for a Income Support Scheme for workers and families impacted by the crisis.

“It is time now to scale up emergency measures and restrictions. It is time for real leadership. Other countries have learned, to their cost, that delay costs lives. We don’t want to learn that lesson here,” he said.

“We also need urgent action to ensure that tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs are protected financially and that they can provide for their families at this time.

“That is why Sinn Féin has proposed the immediate introduction of an Income Support Scheme that will guarantee an income of up to €525 per week for 20 weeks for all workers that are laid off as a result of the current crisis. This would benefit every worker and would mean that everyone who earns up to €32,500 a year will receive their full wage.

“The people of this State bailed out the country’s banks a decade ago.

“Now we need an immediate bailout for workers and families.”

Shane Doran

Shane Doran is founder and Co-Managing Editor of News Now Media, incorporating KilkennyNow.ie, WaterfordNow.ie and WicklowNow.ie. He is a former newspaper editor who has held senior executive roles across five national newspaper titles, both broadsheet and tabloid. He was News Editor and Executive Editor of the Irish Independent for more than seven years and spent a number of years in South Africa where he worked as editor of The Daily Voice newspaper. Shane has held senior editorial position with The Sunday Independent, The Herald and The Irish Daily Star and has served as Executive Editor (Group) of Independent News & Media (INM), Ireland’s largest newspaper group.

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