Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said there is a real need to work harder than ever in the New Year to deliver the all-Ireland response required to tackle Covid-19.
She has that there can be no more prevarication and that two sets of approaches on a small island has left us in a very vulnerable situation.
Teachta McDonald said:
“The increased incidence rate of Covid-19 across the island is deeply worrying.
“This has been a very challenging year. I offer my heartfelt thanks to our frontline health workers who have spent the past ten months combatting a threat we never could have imagined would have upended all of our lives this time last year.
“Christmas is a special time for so many, but can be very challenging for others and many families have not seen each other for many months.
“Despite the challenges, I know that people will exercise the necessary caution required to keep each other safe in the coming days. This is absolutely essential if we are to control the virus as we head into the New Year.
“In the south, the government have taken drastic and necessary steps to reduce social contacts. These must be matched by the necessary supports to assist workers, families and businesses who are impacted by closures and financial loss in the coming period.
“Many businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, had planned on the basis of being open until early January. They need to be adequately provided for.
“We also need to see the threat of PUP cuts looming at the end of January taken off the table and enhanced protection for renters reinstated without delay.
“In the north, it is extremely disappointing that some parties have blocked a Sinn Féin proposal for an all-island ban on travel from Britain. This decision must be revisited by the Executive.
“In the New Year, there is a real need to work harder than ever to deliver the all-Ireland response necessary to tackle the virus head-on and to deliver maximum north-south co-operation. There can be no more prevarication. Two sets of approaches on a small island has left us in a very vulnerable position.
“The situation across the island is grave, but the Irish people have already shown that we can do what is necessary to suppress the virus. I have every confidence that we will do so again.”