News & Media

Public awareness campaign needed on face masks

24 June 2020

Statement by Duncan Smith TD
Party Whip and Spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.

Labour Party member of the Covid-19 Response Committee, Duncan Smith TD, has welcomed moves to make the wearing of face masks compulsory on public transport.

Deputy Smith:

“I welcome the news that the Government are finally making the wearing of face masks compulsory on public transport. Face masks are an essential weapon in this battle against Covid-19.

“Transport unions and indeed users of public transport have been calling for this since the middle of April.

“It is not just enough to issue a directive to the public, we need a clear, concise advertising campaign educating citizens on the proper usage of face masks.

“I have been calling on the Government to roll out a comprehensive public education campaign but also to consider the provision of masks to each household. This would cost around €60 million but would be a welcome investment for the months ahead.

“The coronavirus will be with us for a long time yet. This reality means changing the way we interact, the way we work, the way we travel, the way we socialise and the way we care for each other. There can be no shortcuts.

“We will shortly enter flu season and we cannot have a case of both Covid-19 and the flu hammering our hospitals. The capacity isn’t there to deal with this. Preventative measures like face masks coupled with good hand hygiene, physical distancing and proper coughing etiquette will go a long way to stopping the spread of these viruses. Face masks should not be seen as a sign of sickness but a sign of social solidarity.

“Face masks should be provided at train and bus stations, health care settings, work places and our secondary schools and colleges. It is not enough for the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to do a photo call wearing masks and call it a day, we need to be providing our citizens with masks to encourage their proper usage.”