Laois County Councillor Thomasina Connell has written an open letter to Taoiseach Micheal Martin – urging him to replace the lockdown measures that have been put in place.
Ms Connell, who is chairperson of the Portlaoise Municipal area, and also has her own business on Main Street in Portlaoise, has called fro the lockdown of the entire county to be replaced with a more ‘localised’ regime.
She says that businesses and people in Laois have suffered greatly and as they county has fewer cases than Kildare and Offaly in the last few weeks – it should not be treated the same.
She said: “I am writing on behalf of my constituents in County Laois with regards to the regional lockdown that has been imposed on us since the 8th of August.
“I am requesting that you reconsider the situation made and opt for a more localised lockdown for our county – concentrating on those areas closer to the clusters which have risen from meat factory Covid-19 outbreaks.
“As you will no doubt be aware, there has been symptomatic failures in containing the spread of Covid within meat factories in the midlands region over the past number of weeks.
“This appears to have accumulated in the recent spikes in County Kildare. Although County Laois has a significant number of people employed in the meat factories in question in both counties Kildare and Offaly – there have been far lower cases in Laois which would suggest that a localised lockdown would suffice.
“I am also requesting that additional financial supports for affected businesses in Laois be made available as a matter of urgency.
“Together with a campaign throughout the midlands region in marketing and advertising so that once this period of lockdown has been put behind us, we can welcome visitors and ensure them that County Laois is a safe place to visit.
“I would also like to point out that the businesses must affected by this lockdown were given absolutely no notice. Many restaurants and gastro pubs had only opened a few weeks ago and were getting back on their feet.
“I am told most had purchased fresh produce for the busy weekend which has gone to waste at a significant cost.
“In summary, the regulations imposed on County Laois are completely unfair to both the people in our communities and our businesses who have complied with all necessary Covid-19 regulations but are now being punished for circumstances outside of their control.
“I await hearing from you with your proposals on a fair solution to the crisis.”