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Emergency Covid-19 powers extended after narrowly passing Dáil vote

After November the powers can be rolled over for a further three months, but will not go beyond next February.

THE EMERGENCY POWERS legislation introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic has been extended after narrowly passing a vote in the Dáil – 73 TDs voted in favour and 68 voted against.

The legislation allows restrictions on travel and social gatherings to be reimposed without a further Dáil vote until at least November.

After November the powers can be rolled over for a further three months, but will not go beyond next February.

The length of the extension was widely criticised by opposition TDs who said it didn’t make sense due to the fact society is reopening once again.

The planned easing of restrictions in the coming weeks remains on track as vaccination progress continues.

During the Dáil debate last night Róisín Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said there was no justification “for the automatic rollover of these powers”.

The Soc Dems wanted a six-week extension of the powers, at which time the situation could be reassess.

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“That is a reasonable request to make given all the country has been through, given all the concerns that exist with these powers and given all the limitations these powers put on people’s lives and the erosion of basic human rights as a result,” Shortall said.

Speaking after the vote, Mattie McGrath of the Rural Independent Group said the government “rammed the extension of emergency powers legislation through the Dáil, without allowing for scrutiny or proper debate”.

“It is unbelievable that 34 Fianna Fáil, 28 Fine Gael and 11 Green TDs would vote to extend such drastic, draconian and anti-democratic measures.”

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Órla Ryan

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