Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald says we now need more urgent, decisive action from the government
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said that it is time to scale up emergency measures and restrictions to combat Covid-19, and that other countries have learned, to their cost, that delays costs lives.
Deputy McDonald said that 'mixed messages' from Government must stop, and she also set out Sinn Féin's plan for a comprehensive Income Support Scheme for workers and families impacted by the crisis.
"In the space of a few short weeks, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused levels of national and international disruption unprecedented in our lifetimes," she said.
"Welcome interventions have been made to get ahead of this virus, to slow it down and to 'flatten the curve', but the truth is that we now need more urgent, decisive action from the government. They need to be taking every necessary measure to save lives. Social distancing is central to this strategy, but Government Ministers can't criticise young people for gathering together, while at the same time saying that gathering of up to five hundred people outdoors are still allowed. The mixed messages must stop.
"People in workplaces where there is no real prospect of social distancing are also worried that they are bringing the virus home. They ask why it is that - in this race against time - the government have not yet introduced full measures to protect them and to give full effect to social distancing?
"It is time now to scale up emergency measures and restrictions. Other countries have learned, to their cost, that delay costs lives. We don’t want to learn that lesson here."
The Sinn Fein leader also said that people need urgent action to ensure that tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs are protected financially and that they can provide for their families at this time.
"That is why Sinn Féin has proposed the immediate introduction of an Income Support Scheme that will guarantee an income of up to €525 per week for 20 weeks for all workers that are laid off as a result of the current crisis. This would benefit every worker and would mean that everyone who earns up to €32,500 a year will receive their full wage," she said.
"The people of this State bailed out the country’s banks a decade ago. Now we need an immediate bailout for workers and families."