Cabinet approves extra parental leave while Covid-19 payment 'will not end overnight'

Cabinet approves extra parental leave while Covid-19 payment 'will not end overnight'
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath hold a press conference in Dublin Castle. Picture: Julien Behal Photography

Spending time in jail if you are found to have deliberately falsified your passenger form is a possibility, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said.

Responding to comments from Professor Sam McConkey who called for foreign tourists who are flouting the 14-day quarantine rules to be jailed, Mr Coveney said incorrectly filling out the forms is illegal.

He said that spending time in jail or receiving a major fine is possible under the rules in place and warned the authorities have teeth to monitor the movements of people who come to Ireland.

“That could happen today if people who have misled the State or wilfully incorrectly filled out their form,” Mr Coveney said.

He said that he was not aware of anyone being found guilty yet under those powers.

Mr Coveney was responding to mounting concerns about increased number of flights arriving into Irish airports from the US.

He said the Cabinet was told that between 200 and 250 people are arriving into Ireland from flights to the United States every day.

The Cabinet also approved a measure that will see an additional three weeks leave for parents of new babies will be granted in October’s budget.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman informed the media following the Cabinet meeting of the plan which has been approved in light of a private members’ bill brought by Sinn Féin.

Mr O’Gorman said the €245 a week payment will apply to both mums and dads and can be taken within the first two years of the baby’s life.

The Cabinet also discussed extending the waiver on commercial rates, expanding the credit guarantee scheme and looking to extend the pandemic unemployment payment will form the key parts of the July Jobs Plan, which will be announced next Monday.

Speaking after the meeting, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath confirmed that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment “will not end overnight” and will be one of a number of measures contained in the plan.

He said those on €350 a week will not see an immediate drop down to the €203 regular job seekers allowance but would not be drawn into how much longer will the €350 a week payment will remain.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris got formal Government approval to publish legislation to establish his department.

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