Pandemic frontline workers still awaiting Government recognition

Local Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten, has described as “disappointing” that 15 months after the start of this pandemic frontline workers who have been running our hospital and community services have yet to receive any recognition from Government.

Deputy Naughten raised the need for such recognition during Leaders Questions with An Taoiseach in the Dáil.

“Over the last 15 frontline healthcare workers have manged three waves of the Covid virus and a cyber attack. These people are now mentally and physically exhausted. We must provide staff with time off because exhausted healthcare staff are a recipe for mistakes.

“Last July the Taoiseach promised me that he would look at the possibility of providing frontline staff with additional leave and last December the Scottish Government pledged to pay every NHS and social care worker a €500 Covid bonus.

“While all frontline workers, within our health services or other services including essential retail should receive some acknowledgement of the trojan work that they put in throughout pandemic by their employers.

“In particular I also believe the time is now right for Government to recognise the work of all frontline health workers. Many of our doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, cleaners, porters etc placed themselves at risk to go to work every day to keep us safe and to care for those who were seriously ill.

“These healthcare workers have worked long hours in extremely difficult circumstances across three waves of this pandemic, dealt with the challenges as a result of the cyber attack and we must now stop and recognise the work they have done on behalf of us all. These people have been selfless, and our country owes them a huge debt of gratitude.

“As a result, it is disappointing that even though the Taoiseach gave me a commitment to examine such a proposal that I presented to him last July to offer additional paid leave to frontline healthcare workers, nothing has happened.

“I would again plead with Government to take up my proposal or alternatively follow the example set by the Scottish Government and provide these frontline staff with an acknowledgement that recognises their sacrifices during this pandemic,” Deputy Naughten stated.

Government rejects Climate Council recommendation

Local Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten, has expressed disappointment that Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has rejected an amendment based on the Climate Change Advisory Council recommendation for a separate climate target for farm generated (biogenic ) methane.

This, he claimed, would ensure that the agricultural sector does not face a disproportionate share of the climate reduction targets over the coming years.

Similar approaches have been taken by the EU, the UK and New Zealand a country with a similar climate challenges to that faced by Ireland.

“While Minister Ryan and his predecessor Richard Bruton both acknowledged there is a need to take a different approach to methane coming from agriculture and that coming from fossil fuels, the Climate Bill will not reflect this in law as a result of today’s debate, which I believe will place an unacceptable burden on family farms and on those managing marginal farmland.

“I expressed a real concern that, as currently drafted, the Climate Bill incentivises other Government Departments to use agriculture as a scapegoat for the failure to meet their individual climate targets.

“Real climate action must be about encouraging people along the climate journey in a constructive and positive way with the aim of achieving the goal we all want: a long-term sustainable planet for our children and their children.

“I believe the failure to clearly reflect this recommendation of the Climate Change Advisory Council recommendation in the legislation will undermine the overall objective behind the Climate Bill, and lead to an unnecessary backlash from the farming community.

“Despite scaremongering by some so-called environmentalists this amendment does not mean that agriculture and farming should have a free pass. As I outlined at the Committee today managing our land use better can take even more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing its harmful effects on the climate and the oceans far quicker than shutting down farming,” Deputy Naughten stated.


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