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The Social Democrats have said that they stand fully behind the advice of the public health officials dealing with Covid-19 and wider Coronavirus issue.  Party co-leader Róisín Shortall attended today’s opposition briefing and said the only responsible thing to do in such a situation is to employ an evidence-based approach based on best international medical advice to handling the situation and she is satisfied that is the approach being taken by the relevant public health authorities. She said there is a huge national effort required – including at an individual and a community level.

 Speaking after the briefing Deputy Shortall said:

“We understand that people are legitimately concerned about the virus and the possible implications of it for the health of our population, our society and economy. However, it is hugely important that we do not politicise a public health emergency.  Nobody could support a situation whereby politicians can overrule the objective and impartial evidence-based advice of medical professionals who are experts in this field.  We cannot stress enough the need for all political leaders to stand together and to stand four-square behind the Chief Medical Officer.

“It is important for everyone to work collaboratively to ensure that the expert advice regarding personal hygiene is communicated effectively and that people feel reassured that everything is being done to deal with the situation effectively and appropriately as it develops. This is especially true for vulnerable and older people. Ireland remains in the containment phase and it is important that we all, collectively, do everything possible to try to maintain that. We recognise the enormous efforts of healthcare staff and management across the country in creating the additional healthcare capacity, particularly critical care facilities, and in ensuring that the health service is as prepared in the best way possible.

“Following today’s cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival along with other likely changes to how we go about our daily business, it is important now that all relevant departments work with small business owners, employers and impacted employees to mitigate, in so far as is possible, the hardship which will be felt. With that in mind, emergency legislation to provide early income supports for workers who need to take leave in order to self-isolate, will be taken in the Dáil next Thursday.”

“It is intended that all party leaders would work together and receive up to date reports on the situation as it evolves, at least twice weekly or as often as in necessary.”

09th March 2020

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