Michael McDowell tells Seanad he has ‘no confidence’ in NPHET

Senator says different treatment for restaurants and meat plants ‘inexplicable’

Senator Michael McDowell  said the planned shut down of restaurants has ‘not been scientifically justified’. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times

Senator Michael McDowell said the planned shut down of restaurants has ‘not been scientifically justified’. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ The Irish Times

 

Independent Senator Michael McDowell said he has no confidence in the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) because of the “difference in treatment of meat plants and restaurants”, which he described as “dramatic and inexplicable”.

Speaking in the Seanad, the former tánaiste and attorney general, said closing down restaurants “flies in the face of the strategy announced two weeks ago by the Government that it was going to open these places again”.

He said the planned shut down has “not been scientifically justified and is wrong”. And he said NPHET and the HSE “are implementing policies which are cruel, wasteful and extremely damaging”.

Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield said thousands of pub, café and restaurant workers across Dublin found out through the media that they may well be unemployed by the weekend. He said he heard stories “of workers becoming visibly upset as the news spread through their restaurant” and it was “terrible that people had to find out in such a haphazard way”.