June 25, 2020
Mandatory masks on public transport welcome, but more work needs to be done – Louise O’Reilly TD, Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly TD and Darren O’Rourke TD today commented on the decision of the Cabinet to make the wearing of masks mandatory on public transport.

Deputy O’Reilly said people need to be made aware of the benefits of wearing masks to foster a wider culture of mask wearing, not solely on public transport, while Teachta O’Rourke said clarity is needed on how this will be policed, as bus drivers and front-line train workers should not be left to deal with difficult individuals who refuse to abide by the new regulations.

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD said;

“There is overwhelming international scientific evidence and consensus about the effectiveness of face coverings and masks. They are a highly effective but low-cost way of containing Covid-19 in the population.

“Masks are like seatbelts in cars – they have a huge impact at a very low cost.

“Even if the government make masks mandatory on public transport, we still need to ensure that masks are available, and that people are educated on their benefit, and why they need to wear them.

“We cannot be sure that people won’t remove a mask once they sit down on the bus or train, that is impossible to police; what we need to do is ensure people know the benefits of wearing a mask, and that we create a culture where they want to wear them on public transport, and beyond.

“While I agree with the proposed moves to make masks mandatory on public transport, the government also need to make sure masks are available and ensure people are aware of how beneficial they are.

“We also need to be cognisant that some people with different health needs, persons with disabilities, or people with a developmental disability may not be able to wear a mask, and that needs to be factored into how we move forward with any changes.”

Teachta O’Rourke added;

“I fully agree with this move to make masks mandatory on public transport, but how this will be policed also needs to be clarified by the Minister.

“Bus drivers and front-line train workers should not be left to deal with difficult individuals who refuse to abide by the new regulations.

“In addition, as a significant portion of the economy reopens from this Monday, the Minister for Transport must ensure there is sufficient buses and trains operating to meet the increased demand.

“Even with people wearing masks, it’s imperative we don’t have people crowded onto public transport at this time.”

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