Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.00 26 Mar 2020


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The Dáil has stopped work briefly to applaud all the country's healthcare workers.

A reduced number of TDs are  sitting in the Dáil chamber to debate and approve a range of emergency measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar applauding in the Dáil | Image: Oireachtas screenshot

They are due to sit until around 10.00pm in a bid to get the necessary legislation passed.

However, they briefly paused the debate to applaud the frontline workers leading Ireland's response to the outbreak.

They were led by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, who asked them to stand.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl leads applause for healthcare workers | Image: Oireachtas screenshot

There were similar scenes around the country.

Workers at the Department of Health in Dublin also joined in.

Speaking in the Dáil chamber earlier, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said healthcare workers should all be provided with enough personal protective equipment (PPE).

He said: "There is significant evidence of health staff lacking the personal protection equipment required to protect them from the virus.

"I've heard from doctors and nurses who've actually used their own money to purchase protection in hardware stores."

Health Minister Simon Harris said on Wednesday that a large amount of PPE is currently being prepared in China to be flown to Ireland.

The first batch of equipment is expected to arrive here by the end of the week.

Minister Harris thanked Irish airline crews who are working to deliver it back to Ireland as soon as possible.

Additional reporting: Jack Quann


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