At a media conference today in Dáil Eireann People Before Profit presented their proposed amendments to the Covid 19 legislation which will be debated on Thursday in the Dáil.
The group are proposing, amongst other things, that the government introduce a rent, mortgage payment and utility bills holiday for all workers who have lost or will loose income or work due to the Covid 19 crisis.
They are proposing that abortion pills and consultations with doctors be made via teleconferencing and that the 3-day waiting period for abortions be scrapped for the duration of the crisis.
They want all student nurses to be paid properly and for a reward payment for all workers who now find themselves on the frontline- retail workers, health workers, refuse personnel, and public transport workers and other essential workers.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “We will be proposing these amendments to the legislation tomorrow in the Dáil. We believe that the steps being taken so far are absolutely necessary but that the government needs to go further.
“Renters, people with mortgage repayments and people facing utility bills need to be given a holiday on these outgoings so they can have that added stress removed from them during this crisis.”
Following the HSE briefing Richard Boyd Barrett TD also raised the concerns about the rate of testing.
He said: “At the moment we are only testing 2,500 people per day and the target of 16,000 a day will only be in place at the end of April. We are very concerned that this does not represent enough testing or accord with WHO injunction to ‘test, test, test’ or with best practice as we have seen in South Korea.”
Brid Smith TD added: “We need the abortion legislation to be amended to ensure that during this crisis, the consultations with GPs, required for early abortions, can be done over the phone and that the three-day waiting period, also required by the legislation, is scrapped.
She added: “We also want the student nurses, as we have been calling for, to be paid for the heroic work that they are doing and we want a reward payment for workers who find themselves on the frontline and keeping essential services going- these people are heroes, one and all. “
Gino Kenny TD added: “We need to ensure that the pandemic payment, that has now been raised to €350, as we called for last week, is available to anyone out of work because of the crisis. This means, those who are sick, have lost income or jobs, need to self isolate because they have an ‘underlying condition’ or are staying home to look after dependents.”