Government announcement creates confusion and risks losing public confidence

18 August 2020

Responding to the new Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Government, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly said clarity is needed on whether there would actually be extra powers for Gardaí creating confusion about whether legislation is needed or not, that the decision to end attendance at sporting events was wrong, that there was an inconsistency in the travel advice, and called for improvements to the testing and tracing system.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I believe that the decision to end attendance at sporting events is wrong, and the government are going to lose public support and confidence over it. We are all prepared to play our part, but I can’t understand why the government has made this change when the source of recent outbreaks has been clear, and sporting organisation have acted responsibly. If the issue is people congregating before and after matches that could have been addressed.

“What is urgently needed is a ramping up of the testing and tracing system, and enhanced control measures for at-risk food factories and direct provision centres. A quicker turnaround on testing times would enable outbreaks to be more quickly controlled. We have consistently highlighted the problems facing workers in meat factories and conditions in direct provision since the start of the pandemic.

“The decision in relation to increased powers for An Garda Síochána is welcome but clarity is needed now if this will actually happen and if additional legislation is required for this. If so the Dáil must be reconvened. It is bizarre that the Taoiseach said the Attorney General would now consider the need for this despite the measure being announced today. This just adds to the confusion.

“Some of the measures in relation to the over 70s are also a bit patronising, and we need to ensure that there isn’t age discrimination creeping in here. They have followed the rules but are now being told not to go on staycations.

“I do have concerns in relation to aspects of public transport. I obviously believe the full wearing the masks is essential. However, we do need people to work from home. On the one hand, why are we saying that some people shouldn’t be using public transport but we’re going to force our children going to schools across Ireland to use school buses, so there’s a contradiction there.

“Government must also provide certainty on supports for businesses and workers impacted by the previous and latest restrictions that they can continue to receive the PUP and TWSS.”

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