Time for transparency on cluster locations, says Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has called for areas and institutions with clusters of the coronavirus to be identified and for the widespread wearing of masks to prevent infection spreading.
Time for transparency on cluster locations, says Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has called for areas and institutions with clusters of the coronavirus to be identified and for the widespread wearing of masks to prevent infection spreading.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Martin also said there was huge anxiety about whether the Leaving Cert would go ahead or not and that predictive grades may have to be considered

He supported the exit strategy from lockdown published by the government before the weekend, and said stages could be brought forward if infection rates and hospital virus numbers decreased.

But the party leader has concerns about the transparency of where infection rates are running high.

“My one concern is I do believe it is a time for transparency around the clusters. If there was, behaviour would be better in terms of firstly knowing where it is, secondly ending the rumour machine and anxiety and stress levels.

“Some countries name districts, I would have thought the nursing homes would have been identified much earlier. Let's have full transparency and let families know,” he said.

He noted that the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention had advised the general public to wear masks.

“Experts say it prevents carriers [of the virus] and the degree to which they can spread it. I would support the widespread wearing of masks after May 18.

“And if we are to ever get public transport back, I think you will find that the wearing of masks will be linked with such transport. Whether we like it or not or some people believe it is effective, I think it is going to happen. They don't have to be masks worn in hospital. A lot of people have their own homemade masks.

While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Friday that the Leaving Certificate exams would still go ahead, there is anxiety the lockdown exit strategy did not mention them.

Mr Martin said parents and students alike were in the dark. Party education spokesman Thomas Byrne also suggested the exams should now be cancelled.

Mr Martin said the latest medical advice was awaited and the government needed to be specific about the exams.

“There is a nagging uncertainty. Predictive grades may be an alternative. I was surprised it wasn't in the roadmap.”

Mr Martin also warned of the massive economic damage the virus had inflicted on the country and the need for a government to provide stability.

He noted the thousands of job losses at Ryanair and Aer Lingus and that state companies such as Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail had not submitted performance indicators to transport chiefs.

“All that has not been possible because of the Covid. Of course a government needs to be formed to deal with the enormous economic challenges.”

He agreed with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe that the introduction of new supports for businesses were dependent on a new government and parliamentary approval.

Meanwhile, the chair of the party's organisation in Co Clare says members are concerned they may not get a vote for any coalition deal involving Fianna Fáil. A statement issued by Michael Enright, Cathaoirleach of Fianna Fáil in Clare, said:

“In the media, it is widely reported that Micheál Martin and the Fianna Fáil negotiating team are going to consult with the membership in the absence of a special Árd Fheis. I cannot stress strongly enough, how shameful and disgraceful, circumventing the membership on the most important decision in the party’s history is.

"Every organisation has “checks and balances” to ensure as an entity, its very existence is secure. In Fianna Fáil, the members through One Member One Vote (OMOV), must have the final say in any programme for government.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.