TDs have been asked to “lead by example” in following social distancing guidelines in Leinster House and “engage positively” with those implementing Covid-19 rules.
n an email to all members of the Oireachtas and staff, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said he “cannot over-emphasise” the importance of complying with coronavirus health and safety measures.
Mr Ó Fearghaíl also said Covid-19 compliance team has been established by the Oireachtas to direct their fight against the virus in Leinster House.
“As political leaders, it is also incumbent on Members of both Houses to lead by example. I urge everyone in the community to engage positively with this work which is in everyone’s best interests,” the Ceann Comhailre said.
“I also appeal to everyone to support the Covid-19 Compliance Team, who have a difficult task, by complying with their requests to adhere to all safety guidelines,” he added.
The letter comes after Independent.ie yesterday revealed TDs were rebuked by a senior Oireachtas official for failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations in Leinster House and the Convention Centre Dublin, where they parliament is also being held.
Compliance staff complained about being laughed at and dismissed when asking TDs to comply with Covid rules. The were also concerns raised about TDs gathering in groups, moving furniture and failing to wear masks.
A photo of Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath in the Convention Centre without masks was highlighted as a breach of the rules by the senior official tasked with implementing Covid rules.
In his letter, Mr Ó Fearghaíl said Covid health and safety measures “may be unpopular or inconvenient, but they are necessary, especially in light of recent trends in case numbers”.
“Measures taken by the Covid-19 Compliance Team, including approaching Deputies, Senators, Ministers, staff, journalists, contactors, OPW personnel, Gardaí, departmental officials, and anyone else who comes into the Oireachtas campus, either in Kildare Street or in the Convention Centre Dublin, are undertaken with my approval, and the approval of the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Mark Daly,” he added.