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Govt should be fair to people, says McDonald



Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said “I think the Government should be fair to the people of Dublin” in response to the medium-term Life plan with Covid-19 that was published today.

The six- to nine-month plan includes a risk rating system, from a lower risk level from one to the highest level of complete blockage five.

The whole country is now considered to be at level two.

However, new measures are being introduced in Dublin by midnight, including restrictions on home gatherings, while non-food bars in the capital will not reopen next week.

The reopening of premises in other parts of the country will move forward as planned on September 21st.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One program this evening, Ms. McDonald said there is definitely a particular problem in the capital and the number of cases is growing.

“If it’s something we need extra measures for the city that just need to be said out loud,” she said.

But, she said, it should be made clear how long these measures would be in force.

Another 357 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed today and of these cases, 218 of them are in Dublin.

Ms. McDonald said the central board that is essential to managing the public health crisis is being tested and tracked, and she said it was missing from the Government plan.

She said we have heard for months that 100,000 tests would be performed per week, but that is not happening.

She said anyone who examined the Covid tracking app over the past seven days would see that nowhere near 100,000 tests are being performed.

Mrs. McDonald said that in the absence of a solution to this, the Government risks infiltrating and taking additional measures and blocking with all the chaos and hardship and economic consequences that this would have.

The country needs clarity in the plan, says the Labor leader

In Dáil this afternoon, Labor leader Alan Kelly told Taoiseach that the country needs clarity after today’s plan was announced.

He said it was a very important day that “we were all waiting for”, but he said there is a natural contradiction in today’s plan.

“This is not a five-point plan, this is a five-and-a-half plan,” he said.

Mr Kelly said everyone should be treated equally – “we can not have a situation where if Dublin ‘behaves properly’ they get a yellow card”.

He said Labor supported five phases, but he said “5.5 phases is not the right thing to do”.

Taoiseach said “there is no big deal here” as far as Dublin is concerned. He said NPHET gave advice to Dublin and the modification only concerns ‘wet’ pubs and match attendance.

Micheál Martin said the government did not receive advice on moving to Level 3 and that NPHET could provide further advice Thursday in this regard.

He said the advice is clear to people in Dublin traveling abroad to the rest of the country, as people are encouraged not to travel outside the capital.

Róisín Shortall, co-chair for the Social Democrats, said: “The new plan was supposed to provide clarity about five different levels of risk, but on the first day of the announcement it was muddy with Dublin at ‘level two and a bit’.

“For the Dublin area, where Covid-19 rates are rising rapidly, there was little clarity provided by the Government regarding the additional restrictions needed and people are largely left to search for basic information.”

Sinn Féin health spokesman described the government plan as “incoherent”.

Speaking to RTÉ News, David Cullinane said the plan is confusing and looks set to leave Dublin in “uncertainty between levels 2 and 3”.

Waterford TD said without a quick testing and tracking capacity the government’s plan “is not worth the letter on which it is written”.

“There was a 30-minute press conference and just a passing reference to testing and tracking,” he said.

The plan cannot be easily explained, Mr Cullinane said, “at a time when absolute clarity is needed”.

Mr Cullinane’s criticism was echoed by Ged Nash of the Workers. Louth TD had no clarity given by the Government in its announcement today.

He said there was “absolute confusion about what is happening in Dublin”.

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