Essential and front-line workers, who have continued to work throughout the Covid-19 outbreak, should be given a reward payment by government.
That is according to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, with the party set to include the idea in emergency legislation due before the Dáil tomorrow.
Mr Boyd Barrett said that the payment would recognise those who “have sustained our communities and society throughout this crisis”.
The party is also pushing for a rent, mortgage payment and utility bills holiday for all workers who have lost or will lose income due to the pandemic.
Mr Boyd Barrett said that this move would ensure less stress is added to households during the crisis.
“Renters, people with mortgage repayments and people facing utility bills need to be given a holiday on these outgoings so they can have that added stress removed from them during this crisis.”
Mr Boyd Barrett said that the party was worried about the rates of Covid-19 testing.
“At the moment we are only testing 2,500 people per day and the target of 16,000 a day will only be in place at the end of April.”
He added that government should investigate private laboratory capability to test, as well as to produce personal protective equipment (PPE).
Mr Boyd Barrett said that TDs have been informed by the HSE that an order of PPE will come from China on Sunday containing 11 million surgical masks, 500,000 protective gowns and one million face protective goggles.
Mr Boyd Barrett’s party colleague Gino Kenny TD said that the party would also be calling for an increase to be made to disability allowances in line with the €350 weekly Covid-19 payment in “solidarity”.
Bríd Smith TD, meanwhile, called for telemedicine to be made available for women seeking access to abortion pills. She said that the current situation, which requires two visits to a GP, is not sustainable while GPs are busy dealing with the outbreak.