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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s full speech on new measures to fight Coronavirus.

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https://galwaybayfm.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Leo-speech-web.mp3

Galway Bay fm newsroom:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon announced a series of new measures in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic .

The measures, along with those in place since St. Patrick’s Day have been extended until the 19th of April.

The speech, which was carried live on Galway Bay fm at 4.10 pm today can be viewed and listened to below:

‘Good afternoon.

This morning, the Cabinet met to decide on the next steps that the Government will take
to respond to the Coronavirus Emergency.

These are unprecedented actions to respond to an unprecedented emergency.

We agreed action in three areas.

(1) 
New measures to slow the spread of the virus as recommended by
the CMO and the NPHET – an expert team of public health doctors,
virologists and scientists.

(2) New measures to assist those who have lost or will lose their jobs as a consequence
of the Emergency and a scheme to ensure that many others do not and remain on the payroll rather than being laid off.

(3) New emergency legislation that we are asking the Dáil and Seanad to enact before the
end of the week.

Before I go through them in detail, I want to once again thank all of you contributing to
this Great National Effort. Thank you to:

  • our health service and civil service;
  • our local authorities;
  • our volunteers and NGOs,
  • our Defence Forces;
  • our Gardai;
  • our retailers, farmers and transport workers;
  • carers and care workers;
  • our postal workers; and
  • those working in industry like pharma, food production and food service, and medical
    devices.

Thanks also to everyone helping others in a million different ways. All those in religious
life, our journalists and broadcasters, and everyone doing their best to raise the spirits of our country.

You are rising to this challenge and the nation is grateful.

This morning the NPHET met and has recommended some new actions to help us slow the virus.
We have accepted its advice and it will be published today in accordance with standard practice.

Above
all, today I want to thank the people of Ireland for listening to our
advice when
it comes to physical distancing, regular handwashing, taking care when
sneezing and coughing, and reducing the number of social events and
gatherings you attend.
 It’s too early to know for sure, but we believe it is making a difference.

However, we now believe we need to do more. We need to flatten the curve and suppress this
virus.

So,
I am asking you to stay home if at all possible. That is the best way
to slow the virus,
ensure our hospitals are not overwhelmed and buy us the time we need to
build more capacity – testing, contact tracing, beds, ventilators.

So,
you should only leave home to go to work if you can’t work from home
and your attendance
is essential. You should only go to the shops for essential supplies,
out for medical or dental appointments, to care for others or to take
physical exercise.

Non-essential indoor visits to other people’s homes should be avoided. Social gatherings
of individuals outdoors should be of no more than 4, unless you are all from same household.

We are in this for long haul.

This
could go on for weeks or months and we need to maintain our humanity,
we need to see
our families and loved ones and look after our mental and physical
health. And we can do it if we maintain a physical distance of 2 metres
or more.

No unnecessary travel should take place within the country or overseas, now or over the
Easter break.

In order to assist all of this, the restrictions I announced in Washington DC are being
extended until Sunday 19th April.

And, the following new actions are being taken:

  • All theatres, clubs,
    gyms/leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets,
    casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut;
  • All hotels to limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons;
  • All non-essential retail
    outlets are to close to members of the public and all other retail
    outlets are to implement physical distancing; [a list of essential
    stores is
    provided]
  • All cafes and restaurants are to limit supply to take away food or delivery;
  • All sporting events are cancelled, including those behind closed doors;
  • All playgrounds and holiday/caravan parks will close;
  • All places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing;
  • All organised social indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place.

Gardai will increase
interventions where venues are not in compliance with, or where groups
of people are not adhering to recommended physical distancing.

All household contacts of
a suspect case (i.e. a person who is awaiting a test or test result)
should restrict movements until the test is reported negative or for 14
days
since the onset of symptoms, whichever is shorter.

As I mentioned earlier, individuals should work from home unless attendance at workplace is absolutely essential.

Social gatherings of individuals outdoors should be no more than four persons, unless all are from the same household.

All non-essential indoor visits to other persons’ homes should be avoided.

All crowded places, including public amenities, should be avoided.

All scheduled cruise ship travel will cease.

Any setting that should close has been specifically identified.

The
requirement that workers work from home, unless attendance is
absolutely essential,
is not to be read as meaning that factories or construction sites have
to shut. The authorities are available to work with employers and unions
on how to make physical distancing effective. 

There
will be an increased presence of park rangers and Gardaí in parks and
public places
to ensure physical distancing is being observed. In Ireland, since
independence, we have always had policing by consent rather than
coercion. I don’t intend for that to change now. That’s not our way. The
new powers afforded to the Gardaí will be used sparingly
and only when necessary.  

Let’s all play our part and ensure they are not used at all.
 

I believe a liberal democracy can do this without the need for authoritarian or draconian
actions.

The impact of COVID-19 on our economy and employment has been sudden and will be enormous.

I believe we need to maintain social solidarity, unity and a sense of community in this
time of trial.

In
recognition of the fact that so many fellow citizens have lost their
jobs so suddenly,
we are raising the COVID Unemployment Payment to €350 a week. This is
approximately 75% of average earnings in the sectors most affected, and
compares favourably to what is being done in other countries.
 The first payments will be made on Friday.

The COVID Illness Benefit will also increase to €350 per week and can be topped up by employers.
 This will be paid to people self-isolating.

In
order to encourage employers and companies badly affected by the
Emergency to keep staff
on the payroll, a wage subsidy scheme will be introduced to co-fund 70%
of the cost of salaries up to a maximum of €38,000 a year. At a salary
of €38,000 the subsidy will equate to €410 a week in take-home pay.

The cost of this will be great. Many billions of euro in the coming months. But we can bear
it and we will be able to pay it back as a nation. We do so willingly because it is the right thing to do and because we
owe it to our fellow citizens.

I
believe that maintaining the link between employees and employers and
companies will make
it easier for us to bounce back when this is all over. We will keep our
economic infrastructure intact. We will give businesses the best chance
of making it through this.

The self-employed will also be covered. I know the sacrifices so many of our self-employed have made to
build up their businesses and practices and I know how worried
they are now. 

The Government will do everything it can to help sustain you and bring you through this
Emergency.

Ministers Donohoe, Humphreys and Doherty will set out in detail how all these measures will
apply.   

Finally, Cabinet this morning approved the ‘Emergency Measures in the Public Interest COVID
Bill’.  This legislation, for the duration of the Emergency, will:

  1. freeze rents,
  • prevent evictions,
  • make it easier for health care professionals to re-register and return to work, and
  • enable former members of our Defence Forces to rejoin at the rank they left. 
    We need you to serve your country once again.

We
also approved a framework agreement with the private hospitals. They
will operate effectively
as public hospitals under Section 38 of the Health Act for the duration
of the Emergency thus adding over two thousand beds, 9 laboratories,
critical care capacity and thousands of staff to our health service.
 

Private and public patients will be treated equally and the private hospitals have agreed
to do this on a not-for-profit basis.  I want to thank them for their co-operation.

I
briefed the leaders of the other parties yesterday and we will be
briefing spokespeople
today and during the week. In contrast to what we have seen in some
other countries, our political parties have united against a common foe
and I want to thank them for their understanding, goodwill and
co-operation to date.

Finally another reminder to
everyone to follow the public health advice and to keep following
the five key steps. They might seem simple, but they are vital to
protect us all: regular hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching
your face, physical distance, and staying at home if feeling unwell.

We cannot yet stop this virus but working together we can slow
it in its tracks and push it back.  These
are extraordinarily difficult times for everyone – in Ireland and
around the world. But no matter what happens, we will always put your
life and your health ahead of any other
concern. 

All
our resources are being deployed in this great national effort.
And I know that the Irish people will continue to face this head-on, to
make the changes that are required, and will pull through to the other
side.

Four years ago we commemorated the 1916 Rising and we celebrated the men and women who helped
us win our freedom and our independence. 

I never believed that we would be called upon to match their courage, or their example. 

Today we are.

Working together our country will come through this Emergency. We will be tested – but will
succeed. 

Our greatest generation was not in the past. 
 

Better times are yet to come.

Thank you. ‘

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Executive Director of WHO programme addresses NUIG conferring of 190 future doctors

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Executive Director of the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme has delivered an inspiring address to NUI Galway’s online conferring of 190 future doctors.

Dr Mike Ryan, an NUIG graduate of the class of 1988 asked the new graduates to ‘protect themselves, others and serve those in need’.

The Newcastle based university hosted an online conferring ceremony for the School of Medicine today due to COVID 19 restrictions.

The Health Minister Simon Harris also addressed the graduation ceremony via video link and told NUIG’s 2020 Medicine class to “come work with us.”

Executive Director at the World Health Organisation’s Health Emergencies Programme Dr Mike Ryan urged the medicine class to join the battle against COVID-19.

To hear more, tune into Galway Bay fm news…

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Roscommon/Galway TD urges government to consider proposal for development of template for cloth face coverings

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Roscommon/Galway TD is calling on the National Public Health Emergency Team to consider a proposal on the wearing of home-made cloth face coverings in public and work areas.

According to the HSE, face coverings are unlikely to be of any benefit to the public unless a person is sick.

The Regional Group of Independent TDs, of which Roscommon/Galway Deputy Denis Naughten is chair, says cloth face coverings could prevent cough and sneeze droplet spread.

The group has pointed to new evidence from the Centre for Disease Control in the US, which recommends wearing face coverings in public settings.

The Regional Group argues that the Government’s “Community Call” programme should consider taking the lead in providing face masks templates to the public so that they can be made at home.

It has moved to stress the masks would not be akin to those reserved and worn by frontline heathcare workers.

Deputy Naughten says wearing cloth masks could allow some people to return to work, while continuing to observe social distancing….

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NUIG Professor Alan Ahearne cites reasons for cautious optimism after coronavirus

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – NUI Galway’s Professor Alan Ahearne says there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the economy after the coronavirus.

Alan Ahearne is Director of the Whitaker Institute and Professor of Economics at the university.

He also served as Special Adviser to Ireland’s former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan from 2009 to 2011

Professor Ahearne says there are some reasons for optimism as it’s not a typical recession.

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