Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.30 21 Sep 2020


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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has admitted the messaging on COVID-19 has 'not got through' to some groups in society.

He said the likes of social media 'influencers' may be needed to communicate the message with younger people.

Mr Martin also said that giving Gardaí more powers to punish those who break the rules "is very difficult in itself."

He told Pat Kenny: "In terms of migrant communities - in Kildare, Laois and Offaly - certainly in terms of direct provision or in terms of meat plants - the idea of they not receiving the message, maybe language issues, and that required a different communication approach which is happening.

"Very often they're listening to the news back home, where there would be different messages completely."

"There will be different messaging for different contexts.

"I do feel that in certain areas clearly the message isn't getting through in terms of certain communities where the levels are high and where activities continue where people are congregating in far too greater numbers."

The Taoiseach said they are thinking of better ways to get the safety message out to people:

He said: "The mechanisms and the platforms, maybe using more influencers to communicate at the level young people are at in terms of the various platforms they access... I think is key.

"That is happening, but I think we need to intensify that effort."

Outdoor rave

Mr Martin also reacted to scenes in Dublin city over the weekend, which saw up to 100 people filmed at an outdoor rave at the Oliver Bond flat complex.

Footage shared online showed a DJ playing to a crowd on Saturday night, the day after further restrictions were introduced in the capital.

Gardaí said they responded and asked people to disperse.

They also said no breaches of regulations were detected and that a number of patrols were carried out in the area.

On this, Mr Martin said: "The Gardaí's approach all along, operationally, has been to encourage compliance, work with people, engage with people - enforcement is a last resort in many cases.

"I think the Oliver Bond situation is being investigated by the Gardaí, the manner of its organisation, there might be a range of issues there that the Gardaí have to attend to above and beyond the social distancing and the breach of regulations and guidance in relation to public health.

"And that is a serious issue".

Taoiseach says COVID-19 messaging 'isn't getting through' to certain communities

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On greater powers for Gardaí to punish people for such breaches - such as losing a COVID payment - Mr Martin said: "The challenges in terms of legally enforcing that kind of thing is very difficult in itself, Pat".

"There are fines and penalties in relation to quite a number of regulations."

But he said that the issue of house parties is another matter.

"There are issues in terms of Gardaí going into every single house, that potentially is an issues that many people would have significant reservations about.

"And the practicality of Gardaí going into every single household is something that would be quite challenging in itself".

He also said the return of children to school has added to the pressure on COVID-19 testing.

"It does bring increased pressures in terms of the testing systems and so on, with more children being referred - the vast majority testing negative.

"And clearly the safe environments within schools is very, very important."

Main image: Taoiseach Micheál Martin setting out the Plan for COVID-19 resilience and national recovery. Picture by: Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie

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