Donegal TD Thomas Pringle and Senator Eileen Flynn have called on Government to put in place tighter restrictions to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The Independent representatives have said that construction and manufacturing should come to a halt for a period and that schools should delay opening.
Senator Flynn said, “We are seeing huge numbers of infections this past week and hospitalisation numbers from Covid-19 are rising at an alarming rate. I call for a temporary suspension of construction and manufacturing and for schools and third-level education to return at a later date in order to ease pressure on the health service.”
Deputy Pringle and Senator Flynn are also urging the public to follow public health advice, by restricting their movements and limiting contact with people outside their household.
Deputy Pringle said: “If we’re going to defeat this, we have to do it now. I believe the people know rightly that there should be tighter restrictions – the people have always known the right thing to do.
“There can be no more mixed messages, as happened when the Government eased restrictions earlier against NPHET advice. The Government must be very clear in its messaging at this critical time. If they continue the way they’re going, we could be having these same discussions next Christmas, unless we do a complete lockdown now to break the back of this,” he said.
The Department of Health reported on the weekend that the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 had more than doubled in a week, as had the number of people in intensive care.
Senator Flynn said: “Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer, is asking us to act as though we are infectious. He is asking us to stay at home and to work from home. Now is not the time for gatherings of any kind. I’m pleading with the public to listen to the public health advice.
“What we do today will have a direct impact on the level of infection and hospitalisations in the coming weeks. When we stay at home, we are protecting frontline workers. We are protecting vulnerable people in our families and in our community. We are protecting ourselves and each other. People’s lives are at stake,” she said.
Deputy Pringle said: “I think at this stage there has to be a very clear outcome for the lockdown. We know we have to bring the cases down, and If the Government says we have to have further restrictions, the people will go along with them. We need leadership from this Government and they’ve been shown to have no leadership qualities at all.”
Deputy Pringle and Senator Flynn are calling on the Government to also ensure social protections are in place for individuals and businesses, and that childcare supports are made available for frontline workers.