Sinn Fein spokesperson on Mental Health, Mark Ward TD has written to the Minister for Health to ask what rationale and evidence was used to decide to close gyms under the current restrictions.
The Dublin Mid West TD has argued that the closure of gyms will have a detrimental impact on people’s mental and physical health.
“When restrictions were imposed in April, one of the first things to be impacted was people’s mental health. We heard from numerous experts and mental health service providers how people’s wellbeing was adversely affected.
“Gyms were closed then, but people adapted and exercised outdoors in the fine weather. That fine weather is gone now, and the dark nights are settling in.
“When restrictions were eased, gyms could open as long as they put in place stringent public health measures.
“Gym owners have put in place regimental structures to not only make their business safe, but to have contact tracing measures in place also. Gym users have been compliant to these.
“Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. I have been contacted by a numerous constituents who are concerned about the closure of gyms and other restrictive measures which will negatively affect people’s mental health.
“Isolation, lack of human contact, financial difficulties, loss of jobs, loss of business, lethargy and fear of the unknown are just some of the accompanying issues that run parallel with COVID-19 restrictions.
“Unfortunately, Sinn Féin have not been included in the discussions and decision making on restrictions and have not received briefings on this from NPHET and the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
“Transparency is important for everyone’s understanding of the restrictions and compliance with them. People deserve the truth.
“I have written to the Minister to ask that he outline the rationale and evidence used to close gyms based on his discussions with NPHET and the CMO.
“I would also ask the Minister to outline what, if any, discussions he had on mental health and how mental health experts were included in this process.
“Its time for common sensed to prevail.”