Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.29 18 Aug 2020


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Opposition parties have criticised some of the messaging around the new coronavirus guidelines as 'confusing' and 'contradictory'.

Labour leader Alan Kelly says he believes the Government has 'lost the public' with the new restrictions on sporting events.

A range of new restrictions will be in place until September 13th, including new restrictions on gatherings in houses and for sporting events.

The Government is still planning to go ahead with the reopening of schools next week.

Reacting to the announcement, Labour's Alan Kelly told The Hard Shoulder that some of today's announcements were welcome - such as a pledge to increase testing and tracing times.

However, he said: "My phone has been hopping - it's the first time I feel the public are completely dispirited, disheartened.

"I believe to a point the Government has lost the public because of one or two of the measures - in particular the issue relation to sporting events, [which are] now behind closed doors.

"It's also quite confusing: you have a situation now where you can have 50 people at a wedding, but you can't have 200 people [in a stadium] like Semple Stadium in Thurles... that's just contradictory."

Deputy Kelly also observed that we're asking school children to use public transport, but are now also encouraging other people not to use public transport where possible.

He said there's a vital need to constantly test everyone in congregated settings such as meat factories and direct provision centres to ensure clusters don't develop in those locations.

'Difficult to understand'

RISE TD Paul Murphy also said the message is confusing, and that there's a need to 'put public health before private profit'.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, meanwhile, suggested the restrictions are difficult to understand without more information about recent cases.

She said: "The public deserve to be told if there is actually any suspected transmission at matches or on public transport so they can better understand the rationale behind the decisions being made.

"Public support for these latest measures will evaporate if the science does not underpin decisions.

"The second lockdown in Kildare, Laois and Offaly has continued to cause fury and there is considerable evidence that many people are ignoring the restrictions because they feel it was a lazy decision and the Government just wanted to be seen to be doing something."

She claimed the latest measures are an example of the Government being "reactive rather than proactive" in dealing with the pandemic.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Jacob King/PA Wire/PA Images

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