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11th March 2020 | Green Party News, Health, Press Releases

Green Party statement on COVID-19 Response in Ireland

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The Green Party is concerned that measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 should be taken sooner. Bearing in mind the experience of other countries which are more advanced along the course of this epidemic, we are concerned that delaying these measures may result in a larger number of casualties. With exponential infection growth, every day counts.

We understand that the best public health advice must be followed. However, the decisions relating to the economy go beyond the scope of clinical decisions. We also believe that these decisions should be made on an all-party consensus basis.

We have written to all of the party leaders and health spokespeople to invite them to meet Thursday, together with public health officials and epidemiologists, to discuss whether any of the measures listed below should be taken now. We have written to the Ceann Comhairle to request that he chair this meeting.

Green Party Health Spokesperson, Ossian Smyth, said today

“People are aware that the decisions taken about how to deal with this virus are now critical. They want to know why business as usual at work and in education is continuing and why measures are being delayed as the rate of new cases accelerates by the day. They want to know if early and aggressive intervention would be more effective. Why are actions like the closure of Universities and businesses being taken by the individual organisations themselves, rather than by government? People want their politicians to show leadership in the common interest at this time of crisis.”

List of possible measures to discuss:

  • All companies to immediately enforce a work-from-home policy where possible.
  • An large increase in the number of virus tests being carried out by broadening the eligibility criteria for testing.
  • All schools & colleges to close immediately for a period of 2 weeks. We can provisionally designate this as an early Easter break for the primary and secondary school crew, and plan to work through Easter assuming it’s safe to resume by then.
  • No other social events or meetings involving >100 people to be held. Organisations should explore either holding the events online, deferring or cancelling.
  • People to confine themselves to their houses to the greatest extent possible, while observing all the other practices as recommended by the CMO/HSE.
  • Only essential services– supply chain, shops, infrastructure, should be active.
  • Pubs and restaurants to close by 6pm for 2 weeks.
  • Close nightclubs, cinemas, theatres.