With Ireland now facing the possibility of earlier restrictions to curb the recent increase in cases of Covid-19, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has urged the Government to make any announcements as early as possible.

Deputy Shortall said:

“Unfortunately, all the indicators are that the case numbers are going in the wrong direction. We really have no choice now but to take steps to reverse that trend as much as possible, and the sooner we can do that after Christmas the better.

“I would urge the Government to make it clear as early as possible what the changes will be, and to follow the advice of our public health experts to implement those soon after Christmas. In the meantime, we all need to review our Christmas plans from a health and safety point of view in order to keep our friends and loved ones safe this season.

“An early announcement by Government is absolutely essential for the business sector, especially the hospitality industry. Another lockdown will be a terrible blow to businesses, and they need clarity for continuity planning and to make arrangements for staffing and stock.

“In the longer term, the likelihood is that we will be battling this virus well into the first half of next year. It is not sustainable from an economic, health or social perspective to continue yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns. The Government really needs to produce a joined-up strategy that can tackle the reality of this virus – that includes a robust testing and tracing system and meaningful protocols for international travel.

“The aim must be to take all steps necessary to drive down the virus to rates as close to zero as possible. That entails working closely with Northern Ireland and developing an all-island strategy. The Social Democrats have been calling for this for months now. We live on an island, and we should be capitalising on the benefits of our island status in limiting the spread of the virus. It is completely illogical to operate out of step with Northern Ireland on our pandemic strategies.”

December 18, 2020

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