Seanad debates

Friday, 16 October 2020

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business


10:30 am

Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)

I echo the sentiments and spirit of Senator McGreehan's proposal on the basis that I have had the experience myself, when dining in Kings Inns, of a senior member of the Law Library asking me what school I went to. When I replied, the next comment was, "How very remiss of your parents." I support her views.

I have three points to raise with regard to the changing environment and our requirement for compliance. At the beginning of this crisis, we had fantastic resources on the HSE website with posters and information. It was translated into 27 languages and it was great to get it out among the community. We have updated our position. At the moment, the information on face masks, etc., is only in Romanian, Russian and Bulgarian. It is necessary in our multicultural society to update that and make sure that the level 3 information is available as quickly as possible. I have written to the Minister in that regard.The Tánaiste, during a briefing the other evening, spoke about the idea of touch points, although he did not quite use those words. He was referring to the reasons we are being asked not to have visitors in our homes, that is, that we share things such as doorbells, cups and spoons. We need some information on the idea of touch points. Health and safety professionals have gone into businesses and advised in this regard but we have not tailored the same interventions to our homes. For instance, can we leave gates open so the postman does not have to touch them? There will be a lot of parcel post arriving to homes and we need to be mindful about doorbells and that level of hygiene. There is another little piece of work to be done on hygiene and advising people what to do around their homes.

My final point relates to Christmas shopping and returns policies. I would be loath to start Christmas shopping now, though I have a sister-in-law who I am sure has it all done because she is fantastic. I would be afraid that the people in my family who always return gifts will not be able to.


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