Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Taoiseach): Statements
Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Rent supplement is means-tested. I think everyone in the House appreciates that. Rent supplement is not provided to people who can afford to pay their own rent or mortgage or buy their own home. If we were to extend rent supplement to any group that does not need it for financial reasons that would be a big policy change and an expensive one and I am not sure it would be the right course of action, notwithstanding the very difficult individual circumstances that people may find themselves in.
In terms of the advice on face coverings, there is new advice on face coverings that the Deputy will be aware of. The advice is that people should wear face coverings on crowded public transport and in crowded indoor places like shops but it is not mandatory. It is also strongly advised that people not see it as a substitute for hand washing, social distancing and all of the other actions. This is very much one of those things that is a public health issue. While people are entitled to offer their opinions, including Deputies and me, we have to be guided by the CMO and NPHET on something that is purely a matter of public health advice. There is a public awareness campaign under way advising people when to use masks, how to use them, how to make them and so on and that will be stepped up.