Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that she will be raising the need to immediately scale up emergency measures and restrictions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic with the Taoiseach this afternoon, March 23, at the party leaders’ briefing at Government Buildings.
She also said it is critical that an income support scheme, such as that set out by Sinn Féin at the weekend, is quickly introduced to facilitate this happening.
She stated:"It is time now to scale up emergency measures and restrictions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I have been contacted daily by workers who are extremely concerned about not being able to engage in physical distancing in their workplaces. Workers and their families are placed at risk of contracting or transmitting the virus. Many employers share these concerns. The situation is unacceptable.
"It is now time for the government to introduce full measures to protect these workers and to move to the next stage of physical distancing by shutting down non-essential business activity."
Noting the obvious knock-on effect this would have on incomes, Ms McDonald called for urgent action to ensure they are protected.
She continued: "This will obviously have a knock-on effect on workers incomes, so we also need urgent action to ensure that those who are impacted are protected financially, as well as ensuring that the tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs or who have had hours cut as a result of this crisis are supported.
"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 who have been laid off. This would benefit every worker and would mean that everyone who earns up to €32,500 a year will receive their full wage.
"It is my view that the Dáil needs to sit urgently to address this issue and to introduce a comprehensive Income Support Scheme without delay. The Dáil needs to continue to sit weekly so there is full public accountability at this time of crisis."