Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall has called on the Taoiseach to “pick up the phone and call the other party leaders” so there could be a cross-party response to Covid-19.
Ms Shortall also said the Tánaiste needed to apologise to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan as he was being “very irresponsible” and “playing a dangerous political game.”
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Ms Shortall said that Mr Martin needed to “bring people with him at political level”, all the political parties needed to “be on the same page” to take steps to “drive down the virus.”
The Government response to the virus needed to be cross-party and based on the best evidence. Safeguards should be put in place at airports and ports as there was no monitoring of travel at present, she said.
The Government also needed to work with the authorities in Northern Ireland. There were not only public health considerations, but all aspects of life had to be considered.
There was a need to put the focus on where it should be – on the virus. The Chief Medical Officer had said that if strict action was taken now then numbers could be reduced in the next three to five weeks.
There was “a very strong argument for taking strong action at this time” to get to a better place in four to six weeks, added Ms Shortall.
Now was not the time for political friction so the Government should include all the political parties in the response to the virus, she said.
Ms Shortall also said it was clear that the Minister for Health and the Taoiseach had been kept informed over the weekend by NPHET and the CMO about concern about escalating figures so she could not understand why there was “surprise” at the recommendation to go to Level 5.