In the Dáil today, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, called on the Government to properly play its part in tackling the Covid-19 crisis by seriously addressing three crucial issues – testing and tracing; controls at airports and ports; and transparency about Covid-19 infections data.

Deputy Shortall said:

“The public continue to forego so many aspects of everyday life while the business community is paying an enormous price, yet the Government is failing to play its part in tackling crucial issues in its response to Covid-19. The confidence of the public and the business community will falter unless the Government demonstrates that it has a strategy and is on top of managing this phase of the pandemic.

“The Government needs to honour its commitment to ensure we have an effective testing and tracing system in place. We are told that there is capacity for 100,000 tests a week, yet only 57 percent of this was achieved last week – the highest figure yet. Why are we not achieving 100 percent? Why are we not using the full capacity that is supposed to be available to chase down virus outbreaks?

“We are still awaiting proper controls at our ports and airports. Other countries have much more robust systems, which passengers experience as they leave those countries to come to Ireland. We know the follow up on the Passenger Locator Forms is hopeless. When will the Government give us a robust system of monitoring incoming passengers that we can have confidence in?

“People need to see and understand the data behind the actions the Government is taking or the restrictions that remain in place. To maintain confidence and compliance, the Government must be transparent about the data on locations and clusters of Covid-19 infections. It’s not good enough any longer to ask people to take really difficult actions without clearly showing the reasons and evidence.

“We’ve had a succession of promises from Government, none of which have been fulfilled. We need to see urgent action now which demonstrates a clear strategy for controlling and minimising the virus.”

September 3, 2020

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