Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


12:00 pm

Photo of Maire DevineMaire Devine (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I usually am, a Chathaoirligh. This is an extraordinary human and economic crisis that we are going through. I express sympathy and solidarity with people across the globe, especially those at the epicentre at present. This is the first disease outbreak in generations and it is also the first since social media has become a main form of interaction. I caution the deliberate spread of disinformation. Risk communication is so important that all of us need to focus on providing authoritative information to ensure accurate data drive our actions, unlike that idiot across the Atlantic whose gung-ho attitude is promoting lethal medicine as a cure. A witch doctor is the last thing health science needs.

I welcome student nurses who are effectively on the front line now. We need to look at paying them and all other staff, including student radiographers and others. Medics are effectively performing wartime triage, facing many ethical and traumatic challenges in the national and international arena. I am sorry but this is quite upsetting, as I know how the situation is for them. The solidarity displayed last night in my neighbourhood at 8 p.m., the surge of kindness and the atmosphere of altruism were delightful. Long may it last. The call from all workers in front-line services is "Stay at home because they can't". People should please stay at home. We have no idea where this will go or how long it will last. We are focusing on bending the curve. The exceptional disruption to the economy will need bold policies for recovery but let us never forget that money is meant to serve and is precisely for moments such as this.As we recover physically, mentally and economically, we cannot fixate on what markets demand over and above people. We must treasure what is valuable and boldly tackle inequality and climate crisis. While world scientists and researchers work on a cure and a vaccine, it is the basics of personal hygiene and physical distancing which will hold the line until the weakness of Covid-19 is exploited. Wash your hands. Stay at home.


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