Politicians are not above the Law – FTAI

The perceived arrogance and distancing from the reality of day to day life is often cited as a real issue for politicians striving to attain public sympathy or understanding. In this case the arrogance and detachment from reality is evident and a real blow to the sacrifices and progress the country has taken towards nullifying the impact of COVID-19 on our personal and business lives. Aidan Flynn, General Manager, Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) comments. 

The recent controversy surrounding ‘golf-gate’ and the political fallout from the dinner in Clifden has brought home the sensitivities that are associated with the sacrifices each and every one of us has had to endure since the start of this pandemic in Ireland in March 2020, 6 months ago! Understanding the public mood has long been a challenge for the political classes.  However, this should not detract from the fact that we all push the boundaries when it comes to compliance. It is human nature to push those boundaries. Whilst it is nice to consider that we are in control of our own destiny, there is the question of regulation and enforcement of the rules. Who is responsible to ensure that the rules are taken seriously and abided by? Certainly FTA Ireland is encouraging its members to first be aware of the COVID-19 rules and restrictions and second to abide by those rules for the welfare of their staff and visitors but just as importantly so that they can stay in business and not add to the strain on our health services. All businesses are bound to tolerate the rules in this critical time for our country.

We are indeed all in this together and when the rules are broken those that break them must be held accountable. In the context of COVID 19 and because the situation is so fluid, it is hard for the best of us to keep apace of what is required by us. Therefore, the messaging and support from Government to industry must improve to ensure we are all coherent in our obligations. Indeed, those that are charged with carrying out inspections of businesses need to be more visible and provide more information and guidance in what is expected. Industry engagement needs to improve. Never was there a more important time for public health and Government agencies to work with industry and their representative groups to define the messaging and plan on the dissemination of the consistent messaging. FTA Ireland has been working proactively with our members to build awareness of obligations, the needs for COVID-19 training and to be vigilant and continue to communicate the safe cough etiquette, good hygiene practices of washing hands and 2 metres distancing. Unfortunately, this new reality will be with us for some time, we need to adopt and constantly review and audit our COVID-19 compliance.

Putting this controversy in context, it is important that we do not lose sight of the real issue, businesses including hotels and coach and bus operators and retail shops, and a plethora of others are fighting for their lives to survive. Let’s support them not vilify them, let’s get over this episode, learn from it and move on. Brexit is coming!