Sinn Féin President asks for measures to be taken as Social distancing advice not being heeded

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SINN Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has called for the immediate closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants across the island as she notes social distancing measures are being ignored.

The Sinn Féin party leader said social distancing measures are being ignored and has called for tough decisions to be made to maximise COVID-19 containment efforts, “particularly with St Patrick’s Day looming”.

Teachta McDonald said social distancing measures are “not being adhered to in many pubs, clubs and restaurants” in what she says is a state of “national emergency”.

“The rate of community spread across the island is increasing and drastic measures are required if we are to contain the spread and protect our loved ones,” she said.

The Sinn Féin President asked for measures to be taken across the whole island, saying, “Pubs and restaurants north and south must be directed to close immediately, particularly with St Patrick’s Day looming.

“We have already seen some pubs close their doors in order to protect their staff and the public. We welcome those who have made that responsible decision.”

The Sinn Féin party leader noted the decision of publicans to close all bars and clubs in the Temple Bar area of Dublin City “with immediate effect”.

“The Restaurants Association of Ireland has also acknowledged that social distancing measures are not working, while the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has sought clarity from the government today.

“It is clear that there is a need for robust instructions for pubs and restaurants to close as a matter of urgency,” she said.

McDonald acknowledged this will create difficulties for “workers and employers” and said, “we need state interventions to ensure that workers and businesses can access help and support”.

“Social distancing means staying at home or away from crowds as much as possible, she said, adding, “This message is getting through to some people, but it is being ignored by others and large groups of people in pubs were evident over the weekend so far.

“These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures. We are a resilient people and compassionate people and I have no doubt that the people will understand and appreciate the need for these additional measures,” she concluded.