#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 6°C Thursday 26 November 2020
Advertisement

Varadkar 'increasingly confident' Phase One of lifting restrictions will begin on Monday

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said there are questions to be asked about how the country is re-started and the logic behind the decisions.

Phase one of lifting the restrictions is due to kick in on Monday.
Phase one of lifting the restrictions is due to kick in on Monday.
Image: RollingNews.ie

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said he is “increasingly confident” that Ireland will be able to move to Phase One of the government’s roadmap for lifting restrictions on Monday.

Speaking in the Dáil today during Leaders’ Questions, Varadkar said the first steps to “reawaken” the economy will be done in a slow and gradual way.

“As we are seeing around the world, it is not a straight path. Sometimes progress is halted and there are setbacks.

“Whilst every death is of concern, in the last seven days we’ve seen the lowest daily number of deaths and cases since March.”

He warned that in other countries progress has been halted and there have been set backs due to a spike in numbers, adding that the government will “expect” and “look” for clusters and flare-ups as the country reopens.

As people return to work, workplace clusters may appear, he said, stating that any ember of resurgence must be stamped out.

“All things going to plan, phase one will begin, if and only if it’s safe to do so.

“The moment we assume that our progress through the phases is inevitable, we risk going backwards.

“As we open workplaces, we will see more workplace clusters and need to be vigilant about that.”

Travel restrictions

Speaking about travel restrictions, he said:

“While these rights may be restricted for a time, it is our policy to resume normal travel as soon as it is safe to do so.

“It is going to be months, not weeks before this is possible.”

How to strengthen the rules around people arriving into Ireland were also raised by the Taoiseach.

“As we know, extensive travel restrictions are in place, we are requiring that all people arriving in our ports and airports must complete a public health passenger location and self-isolate for 14 days,” he added.

“There are exceptions like supply chain workers, or people stopping over in one of our airports before travelling onwards or, of course, people on their way to and from Northern Ireland.

“We are examining means to strengthen these actions in the next few days.”

Varadkar also said that Ireland must consider a new way to care for the elderly,

He said: “We need to consider to move away from large, modern and newly built 150 to 200-bed single-room nursing homes towards smaller units like we’ve done in the disability sector and also re-examine clinical governance.

“We must integrate care homes better with the health service, enable therapists and infection control nurses to reach in and avoid hospitals as much as possible, and ensure there is a medical director as well as the person in charge.

“I don’t have all the answers but I am thinking about them every day and I know the deputies are as well.

“There are lots of examples of good practice already. We need to identify them and mainstream them and this will be a major challenge for the new Government.”

‘Mistakes have been made’

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said there are questions to be asked about how the country is re-started and the logic behind the decisions.

“Undoubtedly mistakes have been, and mistakes are, being made,” he said.

“When we reach a stage where we contemplate future responses to either a second wave or a new pandemic, we need to adopt an approach of seeking lessons rather than apportioning blame.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

“We need a more inclusive and multi-disciplinary approach to how measures are developed and agreed – particularly when it comes to reopening the country and lifting restrictions.”

Martin and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald also raised the issue of the childcare for front line healthcare workers. 

Yesterday, it was announced that the scheme which was announced last week, is to be scrapped, due to only a small number of childcare providers signing up.

“The failure to include childcare professionals in the discussions on childcare supports for frontline workers was a fatal weakness in the Government’s approach,” said Martin.

McDonald called for the State to indemnify childcare providers.

The Taoiseach said there was consultation with the sector – perhaps not enough, he admitted. He said there were a number of issues aside from insurance as to why providers didn’t sign up.

Martin also raised the matter of meat plants, stating: “The situation in meat plants is gravely serious”.

“It is now obvious that these clusters [in meat plants] are being dealt with comprehensively. We are now calling for the shutting down of the sector. It seems surprising that the blanket testing of the facilities is followed by no disruption of work.”

“Would it not be reasonable to halt production of work for a deep clean of the plants and putting in place new control measures while waiting for the results? Simply sending workers back to work and back to their families does not make sense.”

“There has been a significant lack of transparency around the issue… the numbers are high around the country.”

“We need to get on the factory floors to see what the reality is like,” he said.

Read next:

COMMENTS (48)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel