By Dominic McGrath, PA
A Fine Gael senator and former Cabinet minister has said Electric Picnic festival should be able to go ahead.
Regina Doherty, a former minister for employment affairs and social protection, said on Thursday: “It should go ahead, because people want to get their lives back.”
Laois County Council said on Wednesday that it cannot revisit or reconsider its decision to refuse a licence for the music festival this year.
Earlier this week, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he would have no public health concerns if Electric Picnic took place with only vaccinated people in attendance.
Ministers have so far declined to comment on whether or not the music and arts event should go ahead.
Ms Doherty was critical of the approach taken by health officials and the Government.
“It should go ahead, because people want to get their lives back,” she said.
“What’s being lost in the conversation is that 37,000 people haven’t worked for 500 days.
“It’s a real shame that the conversation or question wasn’t asked by Cabinet ministers weeks ago, instead of finding ourselves down to the absolute wire.
“We had a senior female Cabinet minister literally begging in the media to attend a meeting so that proposals she had on this very area could be discussed and aired.
“People should be embarrassed by that.”
Minister for Culture Catherine Martin was due to meet representatives from the live music industry on Wednesday, but this has now been moved to Monday, to allow the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste to attend.
Ms Doherty said the live music industry deserves clarity.
“This is not normal times and these are not normal circumstances and those 37,000 people deserve to have that question answered,” she told Newstalk.
While we have increasing levels of vaccination across the population, we continue to have significant concerns over the Delta variant and the increase in incidence of disease across a range of factors. Unfortunately, this variant is still circulating widely.
— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) August 25, 2021
On Wednesday, Dr Holohan said: “While we have increasing levels of vaccination across the population, we continue to have significant concerns over the Delta variant and the increase in incidence of disease across a range of factors. Unfortunately, this variant is still circulating widely.
“Over 70 per cent of cases are in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, and we are seeing high incidence of Covid-19 in adults and teenagers aged 16-29.
“If you haven’t yet registered for your vaccine or have delayed receiving your second dose, please do so as soon as possible.”