Another protest planned
A second large scale anti-lockdown protest is set to take place in Cork city this weekend as the country absorbs the Government’s latest restriction changes.
A ‘March for Truth’ will take place on Saturday starting from Grand Parade and will travel through St Patrick’s Street. A rally will then be held outside Brown Thomas where the public will be addressed by several speakers and musicians, all demanding an end to the lockdown.
The event follows a similar protest on 6 March.
Speaking to the Cork Independent on behalf of organisers of the Independent Campaign for Truth & Proper Public Healthcare, Diarmaid Ó Cadhla said he is unsure of how many people will attend Saturday’s protest but is hoping for even bigger numbers than the last protest.
“I hope that they will come out again but there may be too much security. I know masses of people were turned away last time,” said Mr Ó Cadhla.
He said there is a “growing disaffection” amongst the general population and that the number of objections the protests are receiving now is considerably lower than before.
“There were a lot of people who contacted us before the 6 March Rally for Truth saying that we have lost the plot and are creating a super spreader. A lot of those people have changed their minds and I think we’ve struck a chord with people,” he said.
Mr Ó Cadhla added that Covid-19 infection numbers have gone down consistently in Cork since the last rally. He said there was no violence at the last event and there will be none tolerated at this event. Saturday’s event is advertised as a “peaceful public assembly”.
“We’re not Covid deniers by a long shot. We are mature adults and citizens of a state which has no right to curtail our liberty,” he said.
On Tuesday the Government announced that it will be easing Covid-19 restrictions over the coming month on a phased basis. As of now, those who are fully vaccinated can visit other fully vaccinated people indoors as long as two weeks have passed since their second jab. No facemasks or social distancing is required.
On 12 April the 5km movement restriction will be lifted allowing people to travel anywhere within their own county.
Groups from two separate households will also be able to meet outdoors and there will a full return to in-school learning.
A major announcement was the return of residential construction on 12 April with Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien saying his department will do all it can to make up for “lost ground”.
From 19 April GAA senior teams will be allowed to train collectively and to play matches with high-performing athletes also to resume training.
From 26 April golf courses, tennis courts and other sports facilities can reopen along with the resumption of under-age, non-contact training across all outdoor sports with a limit of 15 people. Funeral attendee numbers will also rise from ten to 25.
On 4 May construction activity will fully resume across the country with a review on restrictions around non-essential retail expected.
Hairdressers and beauty salons will also be permitted to reopen to the public, with religious services and museums and galleries also reopening.
Responding to the announcements, Paula Cogan, President of Cork Chamber said: “The business community has responded remarkably in the last 12 months to the onset of the pandemic, changing business models, adapting operations, and some, unfortunately pulling down their shutters. Supports must be strengthened and extended to 2022 particularly for the most vulnerable sectors.”A proposed 6,000 bed student accommodation complex has been given the go-ahead at the Lough with large-scale drainage expected to start next month.