March 23, 2020
We need to protect lives and ensure people have sufficient finance to live and look after their families – Ruairí Ó Murchú TD

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruairí Ó Murchú has called for a strong governmental health and financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and has said that Sinn Féin will be taking such proposals to the Taoiseach later today.

Deputy Ó Murchú said;

“We need societal restrictions to save lives, monetary safeguards for families and protections for businesses. We need everyone to play their part.

“We need all financial institutions, including vulture funds to offer interest free mortgage holidays and to make applications as easy as possible. We need further rent and tenancy protections and waivers to be enacted by the Minister for Housing.

“Insurance companies cannot be allowed to welch on business interruption insurance. They seem to be playing a win-win game by refusing to pay-out. Real action is needed.

“Business owners have contacted me about multiple instances of being refused legitimate insurance payments as they do their civic duty, protecting their workers and the community by closing their premises.

“The Central Bank’s role in responding to this crisis has been shameful so far. Their consumer protection role has been absent. Some banks and vultures are hitting borrowers hard even with the 3 month mortgage and loan holiday proposal. 

“We will be bringing a suite of proposals to scale up emergency measures and restrictions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic with the Taoiseach this afternoon at the party leaders’ briefing at Government Buildings.  

“Sinn Féin representatives across Louth are being contacted by workers who are extremely concerned about not being able to engage in social distancing in their workplaces. Workers and their families run the risk of contracting or transmitting the virus. This situation is unacceptable.

“Necessary interventions have been made to get ahead of this virus, to slow it down and to ‘flatten the curve’. 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.

“This means 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. 

“The Dáil needs to sit urgently to address all these issues.

“There is also a responsibility on all of us to ensure we follow all social distancing and hygiene directives, but it is clear that not everyone is doing this.

“The health service has many systematic shortcomings and we must do all we can so our wonderful health workers are given the time and opportunity to prepare and to save as many lives as possible.”

“I want to commend those strictly following public health instructions. 

“I also want to praise our frontline healthcare workers, those engaged in food and essential goods provision, our public servants, particularly those in the Department of Foreign Affairs working on Irish citizen repatriation.

“I welcome the monetary compensation of their workers by certain employers in food retail. This is a recognition of the hard work and importance of these workers and this would be welcome right across the sector.

“We need everyone to play their part in this crisis and this includes politicians. There is no room for exclusionary politics.

“The government must step in and take the necessary actions.”

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