Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny has welcomed the proposed changes to the Direct Provision system suggested by the Expert Group on Direct Provision, chaired by Dr Catherine Day.
Teachta Kenny said:
“The system of Direct Provision for those seeking asylum in this State has come under increased scrutiny during the Covid-19 restrictions and rightly so.
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for an end to the Direct Provision system, which is not fit for purpose.
“We are particularly happy to see the following proposed changes to the system:
· Extending the right to work.
· Exploration of alternative housing models and funding provisions.
· Clear guidance with regard to ensuring all applicants can open bank accounts.
· Reducing the amount of time taken to process positive decisions.
· Ensuring binding standards for centres are applied and enforced by January 2021.
· Compulsory training and regular networking for centre managers.
· Moving away from the use of emergency accommodation.
· Ensuring vulnerability assessments take place.
· Working with the Department of Transport towards access to driving licenses.
“We in Sinn Féin will continue to be vigilant on these issues and the whole system of how we receive those seeking asylum into this state and the manner of their processing so that appropriate status can be given to those needing asylum and assistance to recover from the experiences which brought them to these shores in the first place.”
Sinn Féin’s team in the Mid-West have called for decisive political action from government to save the livelihoods of Shannon Airport workers whose jobs have been threatened as the pandemic takes its toll on the aviation sector.
Shannon Airport staff are due to be taken off the payroll next week after Aer Lingus ceased flights from the beleaguered airport. Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan, Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne and Senator Paul Gavan met with the airport workers to hear their grievances and offer their support.
Teachta Wynne said;
"This decision must be challenged by the government. However, the acting Minister for Transport Shane Ross has to date shown precious little interest in this issue and has not even contacted the Shannon CEO since the pandemic hit Ireland.
"This pandemic presents an existential threat to the airport and to the tens of thousands of jobs directly or indirectly reliant on the airport. Around 46,000 jobs are supported by the Shannon Group and the economic impact of the group is around €3.8 billion per year, contributing €1.1 billion to the exchequer.
"The airport is a central part of the mid-western regional economy and it is of critical importance that it be protected. The connectivity offered by the airport with its link to markets in London and New York is a massive boon to the enterprises in the south west."
Speaking on the issue, Maurice Quinlivan said:
“It is absolutely critical that the Government take action to prevent Aer Lingus cancelling flights from Shannon. There is every chance and huge concern that if the flights stop now, Aer Lingus will either never return to Shannon airport after recovery from the pandemic or else may return in a much-diminished capacity. Flights to London Heathrow must be reinstated immediately and the Boston route as soon as possible.
“The problems that Shannon Airport face are the result of years of bad political decisions, like the privatisation of Aer Lingus by the old Fianna Fáil government and the decoupling of the Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority.
“While bad political decisions have led us to this point, good political decisions have the opportunity to lead us out. We need to guarantee the Aer Lingus routes remain. We need to act decisively to save Shannon Airport, not just for the sake of the directly employed workers but also for the thousands of dependent jobs in the south west.
“Shannon Airport is a cornerstone of Mid-West economy and must be protected.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald today said that insurance companies must proactively offer support to struggling SMEs and other citizens who are continuing to pay insurance premiums.
The East Derry MLA was speaking following a meeting of the Economy Committee at which she pressed the Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the lack of action and support provided by big insurance firms.
The party’s Economy spokesperson said:
"Today I pressed the ABI on their members' inaction and unwillingness to reach out to and support struggling small businesses and households.
"Businesses are currently facing a situation where they must continue to pay premiums to big insurance firms, who continue to collect these premiums hand over fist.
"Where businesses are covered explicitly for business interruption they must have claims honoured fully and in rapid time.
"Where businesses are not explicitly covered, or where grey areas exist, the insurance industry must be leading efforts to offer a range of payment supports that will prevent businesses going under unnecessarily and further job losses.
"To date, however, there has been no industry-wide approach to offering rebates, deferrals, and other meaningful payment support options to business and families. This is solely an issue of flexibility and willingness on the part of insurers to play their role in this crisis as everyone else has chipped in and sacrificed.
"The same is true for families continuing to pay full car insurance premiums, despite a dramatic reduction in car travel across society. Insurers should be reaching out to families in distress at this time and offering rebates, deferrals and initiatives of that nature.
"Insurers are leaving families and businesses high and dry in their moment of greatest need."
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly says reports that the Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) and consultancy-run maternity services at Cavan General Hospital are set to merge would represent a regressive step for women’s healthcare.
Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said: “It is with genuine shock and anger that I read of reports that the Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) was under threat due to proposals to merge it with consultancy-run maternity services at Cavan General Hospital.
“The unit is one of only two midwife-led services in the state and it provides a fantastic service – I know that first-hand from women who have used the service.
“The National Maternity Strategy calls for more MLUs, so it is beggars belief that it would be threatened with being downgraded.
“The women of this state were promised a woman-centred national maternity strategy, and midwife-led care is the cornerstone of the National Maternity Strategy (2016-2026).
"If the MLU at Cavan General Hospital is downgraded, it will fly in the face of those promises and the overall strategy for women’s healthcare.
“Women in Cavan and Monaghan had to battle hard to get access to 20-week pregnancy scans, and they battled hard for an MLU and choice of pregnancy care. If this service is removed, then that choice of care is removed – this cannot be allowed to happen.
“In 2017, over 40 per cent of women had a Caesarean birth in Cavan General Hospital. This is a much higher than the 10-15 per cent rate recommended by the World Health Organisation. The high level of c-sections reported underlines the need for women to be allowed choose their own preferred method of care.
“That is why choice is incredibly important for women, and that is why women are frustrated and angry at any attempts to take away the MLU in Cavan.
“I have written to the Minister for Health to ask him to clarify the situation and to commit to keeping the MLU open. If this does not happen then it is another case of one step forward and two steps back for women’s healthcare in Ireland.”
Teachta O'Reilly will be working closely with Sinn Féin TD for Cavan Pauline Tully to ensure that MLU services at Cavan General Hospital are maintained.
Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has condemned the arson attack on the home of a Garda and his family in Dundalk, Co Louth last night.
Deputy Kenny said:
“I condemn the actions of those who started this fire in Hawthorn Crescent in Dundalk last night.
“The Garda and his wife and two children were put at considerable risk. Happily, thanks to the swift action of the emergency services, no one was physically injured in the attack, but no doubt they have been traumatised by this fire.
“This is the third time that a Garda’s home has been attacked over the last year and a half in Dundalk and I hope that anyone with information on this incident will share it with gardaí.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Finance Pearse Doherty has welcomed new regulations on moneylenders announced today by the Central Bank, but has warned that the only way to protect consumers from rip-off rates and financial exploitation is by capping interest rates.
Deputy Doherty has called for the new Dáil to support his Consumer Credit (Amendment) Bill, which passed Second Stage of the Dáil in 2018 and would place a cap of 36% on the rate of interest moneylenders can charge.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Currently regulated moneylenders are able to charge rates as high as 187% on loans, charging extortionate interest for borrowers and families that are already likely to be under financial pressure.
“Given the economic fallout and job loss that we face today, the risk posed by usurious and extortionate moneylending as never been greater.
“While today’s Central Bank announcement of new regulations on moneylenders is welcome, the ultimate protection for consumers and families is by capping the level of interest they can charge.
“One of the regulations which will take effect from the 1st September, is that moneylenders will be required to include warnings in advertisements for lending where high interest is charged.
“This effectively amounts to moneylenders telling borrowers they will be exploited before they then proceed to exploit them.
“While anything that alerts families and borrowers to the dangers of exploitative lending is welcome, the best way to protect consumers from it is to stop it. That is the job of the Dáil.
“In 2018 the Dáil, despite Fine Gael opposition, supported Sinn Féin’s legislation to place a cap of 36% on the rate that moneylenders and loan sharks can charge.
“In February’s election, Sinn Féin committed to making this legislation law, offering protection to more than 300,000 people who borrow from moneylenders in the State.
“Sinn Féin are committed to moving this legislation forward and capping exploitative moneylending during this Dáil term. This must coincide with reforming restrictive lending rules to allow credit unions to play a greater role in providing affordable credit to borrowers."
Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has raised the frustrations of Driving instructors during COVID-19, who are unaware of where they fit within the Five Stage plan.
The Foyle MLA stated:
“I have been contacted by numerous driving instructors querying when it is safe for them to go back to work in line with the Executive’s Five Step Plan to ease the lockdown.
“This has been a difficult period for driving instructors, as COVID-19 has impacted their sector hard.
“Driving instructors are not looking for dates- but they would like some clarity on what stage of the plan applies to them.
“At the previous Infrastructure committee, I raised these concerns and have asked the Department if they can provide clarity for driving instructors at this time.”
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said any credible economic recovery plan must take an ambitious, long-term and strategic approach to rebuilding a fairer, greener and healthier economy for all.
The party’s Economy Spokesperson was speaking in advance of the launch of Sinn Féin's principles for how to approach the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Caoimhe Archibald MLA said:
“Today Sinn Féin are laying out our strategic, long-term, and ambitious approach to economic recovery in the North.
“This strategy seeks to tackle the problems of the past, the crises of the present including COVID19 and Brexit, and the threat of climate breakdown of the near future.
“There is consensus across society that we need a plan to a new, more inclusive, and more resilient economy.
“How can we protect the jobs and incomes of workers, families and SMEs in this economic crisis? How can we proof our economy against further COVID shocks and prepare it for the significant challenges posed by Brexit? How can we rapidly decarbonise our economy through a Green New Deal and take advantage of the opportunities for the green and digital economies? How can we tackle low-paid and insecure work?
“These problems need solutions, and no recovery plan for the North will be credible unless it addresses them.
“Tonight at 7.30pm, Sinn Féin will launch our recovery strategy online to address how we would deal with these challenges and more, through a discussion with Chris Hazzard and myself on the main principles underpinning our bold recovery strategy.”
The online launch of the document will take place on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Facebook: Caoimhe Archibald Sinn Féin
The fire attack on the family home of a Garda in Bay Estate has been condemned by Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú who said the "brazen and shocking" incident was "an attack on the whole community".
Teachta Ó Murchú, who lives in Bay Estate, attended the scene at Hawthorn Crescent shortly before midnight after emergency services were called by a neighbour at around 11.15pm.
"I want to utterly condemn the actions of those who started this fire. If this attack was targeted because of the Garda’s work, this is an extremely serious, malicious and shocking attack on a family who are well-known and very well respected in this area.
"This was an incredibly serious incident and, if this Garda’s home was deliberately attacked because of his job, it is a dreadful escalation by criminal elements in Dundalk and the wider area. There have been a number of attacks on Gardaí in Louth over the past 18 months.
"There is no doubt that but for the swift response of the fire service this could have been a lot worse – it was a very large fire.
"It was a blaze that caused damage to the exterior of the house but there was a family inside, who were alerted by a neighbour.
"The community in Bay Estate was ‘deeply worried and concerned’ by the fire, which was ‘an attack on the whole community’.
"This family deserves the support and help of the entire community at this time and anyone who can help should come forward’.
"Anyone who has footage of this incident or CCTV from the area, or who knows who is responsible for this, should contact Gardaí in Dundalk at 042 9388400."
Speaking after receiving written confirmation from the Department of Health that engagement with smaller community groups has been limited in scale, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health Órlaithí Flynn said:
"The Department of Health must engage with community groups as a key sector to develop in partnership with them the new mental health strategy.
“The lived experience of groups which are embedded within the communities they serve are invaluable to service delivery and development.
“The Minister must set out clearly now how his department intends to engage with all groups who are involved in mental health and suicide prevention work.
“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions the department must make a determined effort to work in partnership with people with experience and who are rooted in communities on the co-design and development of the mental health strategy.
"Community mental health groups must not be side-lined.
"I call on the Minister to clearly set out how he will ensure sustained and active engagement with all sections of the Community and Voluntary sector in co-designing and co-producing strategies."
“Poor quality British food will damage Irish agriculture” - Chris MacManus MEP
As UK prepares to drop food standards MacManus has accused Fine Gael of sleepwalking towards Brexit.
Following recent developments in Westminster on lowering food standards, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, a member of the EU Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, has said that farmers are at risk because the Irish caretaker government is “sleep-walking towards Brexit’ as Britain drops food standards to secure trade deal with the US.
“Britain is a highly important export market for Irish farmers that is about to be flooded with cheap, low-quality food. The government is sleep-walking towards Brexit and the severe impact it will have on Irish agriculture.
“Tories have now dropped all pretence of protecting food standards in Britain as they attempt to secure a trade deal with the US. This means that Irish exports will have to compete with cheaply-produced food imports.
“This is the competition Irish farmers will face in the near future and they are still in the dark as to what preparations, if any, are being made.
“It is clear chlorinated chicken is being offered access to British market. It is also clear that Britain is softening its position on hormone-fed beef and crops treated with 82 different pesticides banned in the EU.
“The Irish protocol will protect all-Ireland agricultural trade but all farmers in Ireland will be hurt by the Tories sell-out of their domestic market to US interests. Despite the impact this will have on Irish agriculture across the Island the DUP have supported legislation to allow for lowering standards in Westminster that directly harms farmers in their own constituencies.
“Most farmers never believed the assurances of the Tories that they would maintain food standards - evident in the strong recognition for the need for a backstop. They will not be surprised that Downing street has been rowing back on promises ever since trade talks officially opened with the US last month.
“It is increasingly clear the type of Brexit that is being pursued by London. How we deal with the fallout needs to be top of the agenda of the next government”.
6,500 Covid-19 Rent supplement claims in payment
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to do more to promote the availability of rent supplement for renters who may be struggling to meet rental costs. The call comes as figures show that the Covid 19 rent supplement payments have increased by 33% since March, with 6,500 claims in payment.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“As of the 11th of March 2020, 15,264 households were in receipt of Rent Supplement from the Department of Social Protection.
“As of the 25th of May, that figure has risen to 20,400, an increase of 33%
“There are now 6,500 Covid19 rent supplement claims in payment
“There are also 1,900 claims pending which if granted, would mean an increase in those claiming rent supplement during the first three months of the pandemic reached 42%.
“The Department of Social Protection has been very slow to both promote the availability of rent supplement and to communicate the revised criteria for applications.
“Initial responses from the renters survey we launched last Friday indicated that many renters were unaware of the availability of this payment despite being worried about accumulating debt.
“The government must work with all parties, and representatives of tenants and landlords to come up with a rent arrears debt resolution process post-Covid-19 that does not heap the full burden of that debt on the shoulders of struggling renters.”
Note to editor: PQ response on rent supplement figures below.
For Written Answer on : 03/06/2020
Question Number(s): 1094 Question Reference(s): 8752/20
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Eoin Ó Broin T.D.
* To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of new rent supplement applications received from 12 March 2020 to the most recent date for which figures are available; the number of new claims awarded from 12 March 2020 to the most recent date for which figures are available; the breakdown of these applications and claims by county; and if the availability of this rent support will be extended until the public health emergency is over. - Eoin Ó Broin T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 3 June, 2020.
Rent supplement continues to play a key role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme currently supporting approximately 20,400 recipients.
The scheme provides short-term income support, to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The scheme ensures that for those who were renting, and due to temporary loss of employment, can continue to meet their rental commitments.
Since the introduction of the Government’s Covid emergency response approximately 6,500 customers have been provided rent supplement support; in addition, there are currently, approximately, 1,900 pending applications awaiting a decision or in process of providing the necessary documentation to the officer dealing with the claim. I am advised by my Department that statistics in relation to overall approval/refusal rates in relation to the Scheme are not currently available.
The Department’s response to this emergency, ensuring that the inherent flexibility of the rent supplement is available, has been extended to 19 June 2020 and is being reviewed in the context of the Government’s continued response to the Covid emergency.
The cases that are currently in payment and awarded from the 13 March 2020 by county, along with cases currently pending a decision (or documentation still outstanding) are provided in the attached tabular statement.
I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.
Table 1: Rent Supplement Awards Post 13th March & Pending Claims as at 25th May 2020CountyAwarded RS Cases Post 13th MarchPending Cases CARLOW10219CAVAN11414CLARE11317CORK669426DONEGAL1217DUBLIN2,502755GALWAY319131KERRY25668KILDARE30974KILKENNY12937LAOIS10514LEITRIM338LIMERICK2409LONGFORD3719LOUTH10944MAYO12935MEATH20846MONAGHAN468OFFALY504ROSCOMMON5820SLIGO6511TIPPERARY14823WATERFORD3614WESTMEATH1348WEXFORD16224WICKLOW26338 Grand Total6,4571,873
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and the Environment David Cullinane TD has described reports that social welfare payments will have to be cut if the pension age is not raised as “cynical and petty”.
He said that "Sinn Féin is the only party that will guarantee a State pension at 65".
"Reports have emerged today that social welfare cuts will be necessary if the pension age is not raised. This is a cynical and petty narrative, and is is disingenuous. It is nothing more than scaremongering.
“As I have said before, a move by Fianna Fáil to renege on their commitment to stop changes to the pension age is despicable.
“Reverting the pension age to 65 can be paid for through reform of the PRSI system and by increasing employers' PRSI on incomes in excess of €100,000.
"Sinn Féin is the only party that is clear and unequivocal on this issue - everyone should have the right to retire on a State pension at 65 if they choose. Workers deserve dignity in retirement.
“The people have demanded change on this issue.”
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Ruairí Ó Murchú has condemned whoever was responsible for setting trees ablaze close to a house in Bay Estate on Sunday night, causing significant damage to the exterior of the property.
Teachta Ó Murchú, who lives in Bay Estate, said he attended the scene, at Hawthorn Crescent, shortly before midnight after the emergency services were called by a neighbour at around 11.15pm.
"I want to condemn the actions of those who started this fire. They were reckless as to what would happen after they set fire to trees so close to a house.
"There is no doubt that but for the swift response of the fire service this could have been a lot worse. It was a fire that caused damage to the exterior of the house but there were people inside.
"We have seen the brave and tenacious efforts of the fire service in this county over the last week as they battled the fires on the Cooley Mountains, under very difficult circumstances.
"But, as Cllr. Kevin Meenan has already pointed out, the fire service has been put under immense additional pressure responding to calls to fires like this, started maliciously, around Dundalk.
"I want to share in his call for the people involved in these incidents to immediately stop. Parents have to know where their children are and what they are doing.
"Anyone who has footage of this incident or CCTV from the area, or who knows who is responsible for this, should contact Gardaí in Dundalk at 042 9388400."
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has slammed as ‘the height of irresponsibility’ a reported plan by Fianna Fáil to allow house buyers to draw down private pensions early to purchase homes.
Teachta Doherty said:
“The proposal put forward by Fianna Fáil is laughable and is the height of irresponsibility.
“For a start, 60% of workers in the private sector have no private pension provision and this proposal would automatically exclude these workers, whilst pushing prices up for everyone else.
“The way to deal with overpriced housing and a lack of supply is to build affordable homes, and Sinn Féin have repeatedly shown how this can be done.
“The solution to this will not be found in allowing developers to pick the pockets of people’s futures.
“The core issue at the heart of the housing crisis is a lack of supply and unaffordability. This proposal would address neither, and will actually do the opposite by pushing house prices upwards.
“Instead of making housing affordable, Fianna Fáil will always put developers first.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anything different - this is just another example of how Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted.
“Combined with an increased age at which workers can draw down a Stare pension, this is a proposal that will make the future very bleak for the workers of today.”
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that it is incredible that Simon Harris would flippantly suggest that parents rely on a ‘dig out’ from family and friends as thousands of workers are due to return to work tomorrow in the absence of a workable childcare plan.
“Tens of thousands of parents are due to go back to work tomorrow morning and many will be forced to take unpaid or holiday leave, or to leave their children with grandparents who are still cocooning because of the government’s absolute failure to bring forward a workable plan for childcare.
“It is incredible that Simon Harris would flippantly suggest that people rely on a ‘dig out’ from family and friends, something reminiscent of Leo Varadkar’s suggestion that young people trying to buy their first home should go to the bank of mammy and daddy.
“In March, the government announced a scheme to provide paid leave to public sector employees who are the partners of healthcare workers, only for the announcement to amount to nothing after being widely panned as unworkable by the sector.
"Last month, the scheme to provide childcare in the homes of healthcare workers also suddenly collapsed following the failure of the government to indemnify childcare workers.
“Parents are understandably anxious that the government are failing to provide childcare yet again, leaving many more families abruptly left in the lurch where they should be entitled to proper State support.
“We urgently need a scheme which meets the real needs of parents and properly engages with childcare providers across the sector to ensure plans are clear and viable. Parents and childcare workers deserve this clarity as a matter of urgency.”
Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan Pauline Tully TD has said that reports of the closure of the Maternity-Led Unit in Cavan General Hospital have sparked huge concern amongst midwives and prospective mothers throughout Cavan, Monaghan and surroundings areas and that urgent clarity is needed.
"Local reports I have received suggest that the Maternity-Led Unit at Cavan General Hospital will be merged with consultancy led maternity services, and if this is true then it is nothing short of a downgrading of maternity services in the region.
"Such action is contrary to the National Maternity Strategy and should not in any circumstances be considered.
"I have written to the Minister for Health and to the CEO of the RCSI Hospital Group seeking urgent clarification on this and I have voiced my opposition to any such merger.
"I am also aware that the IMNO have not been consulted on proposals to merge maternity services and they too are seeking a meeting with the RCSI to clarify the situation.
"Sinn Féin have a proud track record of defending service provision within our local hospitals and we recall the devastating implications of the removal of maternity services at Monaghan Hospital by a previous Fianna Fáil government.
"I will be working with my constituency colleague, Matt Carthy TD and our party's spokesperson on Health, Louise O’Reilly TD to ensure that any proposal to downgrade maternity services in Cavan is categorically rejected."
Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said armed gangs need to end their futile actions against the community.
Speaking after it was reported that weapons and explosives have been found in Derry, the Foyle MLA said:
“The fact that this material will not be used to endanger life is welcome.
“There is no place for this type of activity in our community.
“Armed gangs offer nothing to our society and need to end their futile actions against the community immediately.”
Sinn Féin TD for Meath East Darren O'Rourke has called on Government to ensure additional buses are in place on Monday to meet increased public transport demand as thousands of people return to work in Phase 2 of the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.
Teachta O'Rourke made the comments following widespread reports of commuters left stranded at bus-stops during Phase 1 and the acknowledgement by Anne Graham of the National Transport Authority that public transport use was already ahead of projected levels.
"There is a clear sense that our public transport services, particularly our bus services, will be overwhelmed in Phase 2. There are already widespread reports of buses at maximum capacity leaving commuters stranded. There are also reports of difficulty maintaining and policing social distancing restrictions on board and at stops and terminals.
"This week at the Covid-19 Committee, Anne Graham CEO of the NTA acknowledged that public transport use was already ahead of projected levels and that some of the reserve capacity expected for Phase 2 had already been used in Phase 1.
"The situation will get worse if there isn't an immediate and appropriate intervention. Now is the time to add additional capacity in order to alleviate pressure.
"It is quite clear that Government advice to walk or cycle and to only use public transport where essential has not taken adequate account of the volume of people who rely on public transport and who do not have an alternative means of travel.
"There is a need a comprehensive response to deal with Covid-19 transport challenges. The establishment of a Transport Recovery Taskforce can help play a role in addressing this. Firstly though, we need an immediate address of capacity and public health challenges.
"We need additional buses and we need mandatory face-coverings for all passengers and drivers, with limited exceptions. The comments of Dr. David Nabarro of the World Health Organisation today serve to further emphasise this point. In both regards, time is of the absolute essence."