'There's no point shutting an entire industry, then letting new variants in the back door’ - Cork café owner

'There's no point shutting an entire industry, then letting new variants in the back door’ - Cork café owner

Richard Jacob of Idaho Cafe on Caroline Street, Cork has written an open letter to the Taoiseach

The owner of a Cork café has written an open letter to Micheál Martin calling for the Taoiseach to show “leadership” and correct the Government’s “communication shambles.” 

Richard Jacob, who owns Idaho café in the city centre, kept his business closed for about nine months last year.

Mr Jacob, who said he closed his doors before he was directed to last year, wrote that he understood the need to keep fellow citizens safe and the seriousness of the pandemic.

However, he said, he does not understand why 5,600 people flew into Ireland from countries on Covid warning lists last month or why the Government “still haven’t worked out a quarantine plan.” 

“All we ask of you is leadership, We don’t expect dynamism, just leadership.” 

Mr Jacob criticised what he called the “communication shambles” and urged the Taoiseach not to allow managers, chefs and floor staff “to find out through leaks and whispers to journalists that they are now part of the long-term unemployed.” 

Mr Jacob said that there are nearly half a million people who remain out of work across the country and called on Mr Martin to get ministers and advisers together to ”form a cogent plan, go on national television, look us in the eye and tell us what it is and why we are doing it.” 

“There are 480,000 people unemployed because of this pandemic, 150,000 of those, in hospitality,” Jacobs wrote.

“This morning, nearly half a million retail workers, musicians, hotel managers and former taxpayers are waiting, waiting for you to lead.” 

“Waiting for you to tell us that there is a plan.”

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 this Tuesday, Mr Jacob's said there doesn't seem to be a plan or "any way out" of the current crisis. 

"The airports are still open. People are still coming in and we're being told, it's very complicated to get a quarantine system in place. I don't understand why everything in Ireland is so complicated other countries manage it."

"There's no point in shutting an entire industry putting people's careers on hold, putting people's lives on hold, and then letting new variants in the back door."

"There is absolutely no leadership, we've gone through a shambles in the last few months."

"We're not looking to reopen our business we closed our business before we were told to because we wanted to keep our customers and our staff safe, but we didn't do it just to live in a shambles watching different ministers contradict each other."

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