As the government moves to ease Covid-19 restrictions, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Taoiseach to provide reassurance and clarity to the public in relation to ongoing delays in testing and tracing.
She has also said that everything must be done to ensure that workers and their families are kept safe as they begin to return to work on Monday.
“After two months of restrictions, there will be a widespread welcome for the easing of restrictions on Monday – but it is vital that we get this right in order to protect public safety and to minimise the prospects of having to re-introduce emergency measures at a later date.
“In order to reassure the public, I believe the Taoiseach needs to address ongoing delays in Covid-19 testing and tracing and the risks this poses as restrictions are eased.
“We know that the HSE has encountered significant difficulties in hitting the necessary targets for testing and tracing. Experts are clear that the entire testing process must be completed within 48 to 72 hours in order to cut the spread of the virus. However, current timelines are too slow and are not where they need to be. The plan to address this should be published.
“In respect of workplace safety, the Health and Safety Authority have been given a huge task to monitor and enforce compliance with public health advice for employees returning to their workplaces.
“The Taoiseach needs to reassure those returning to work on Monday that the Health and Safety Authority will be given the necessary resources to ensure that everything that can be done will be done to protect the safety of workers.
“And finally, I think we need to step up the all-Ireland response, which I believe will be critical in the months ahead.”