Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said “Sinn Féin have been in contact with government departments and various sectors throughout the day on measures needed to support and assist families, workers and businesses during this public health emergency.
“There is huge uncertainty across society as people begin to come to terms with and plan for the emergency measures introduced yesterday. It is essential that the government acts quickly to support families, workers and businesses.
“We have been in contact with government departments throughout the day on the issues requiring immediate attention, including legislation which needs to be passed at next week’s Dáil sitting.
“The social welfare system will have to adapt quickly to support families and workers where job losses, loss of hours or sickness occur. Illness benefit is an important part of this, but it is only one part of what must be a comprehensive welfare response.
“Parents may be forced out of paid employment to care for children for the duration of the public health emergency. These parents must be supported, not penalised.
“Families and workers must be protected against rent increases and evictions. A mortgage holiday must be provided for, as must a prohibition on utility disconnections.
“The childcare needs of frontline healthcare workers must be met as a matter of urgency, Government must work closely with workers and the childcare sector to find a solution quickly.
“Childcare providers and workers must be supported through the period of emergency closure. A package of measures including income supports must be clearly articulated as a matter of priority.
“Businesses also need urgent interventions including a three month deferral of VAT payments, a range of financial measures for businesses including withdrawal of fees from banking sector on cashless payments, extension of loans and deferral of mortgage payments.
“We need to provide certainty on all of these and many other issues in the coming days.”