February 29, 2024

‘Car crash stuff’ – Kilkenny TD criticises leader and says he will not support ‘vaccine pass’ or more lockdowns

A Kilkenny Government TD said he will not support his measures to introduce a so-called “vaccine pass” or further lockdown measures in the event of a future vote in the Dáil.

Local Fine Gael TD John Phelan also reportedly criticised his party leader, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, saying the annoucement and subsequent media interviews about the delay to fully reopening hospitality were “car crash stuff”.

Deputy Phelan told the weekly Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night that he was embarrassed by the Government’s decision on Tuesday and that he would not be voting for it.

The Kilkenny TD’s party colleague, former minister Michael Ring, also said he would not vote for the measures.

Mr Varadkar told the meeting the Government is examining how to accelerate the vaccine rollout to younger people following new guidance that Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines can be used on people under 50.

He told colleagues one of the issues being examined is whether the one-shot jab manufactured by Johnson & Johnson could be given to younger people on a call-in or walk-in basis at pharmacies subject to adequate supply.

He said the Government would monitor the highly contagious Delta variant over the coming weeks and emerging evidence from England and Scotland on the link between case numbers and hospitalisation.

The Tánaiste also signalled that the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) could be used as a Covid pass for people to access indoor hospitality next month if they are vaccinated, immune or have tested negative for the virus.

He said the fastest way to set up a new ‘Covidpass’ for indoor dining and other services would be to use the EU-wide pass due to come into effect on July 19.

The Fine Gael leader also reportedly told the meeting there is no date for reopening hospitality and that July 19 is just a review date.

He said it would be two to three weeks before the vaccination programme can accelerate and that it is only the that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would be in a position to reassess the situation.

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