'Coronavirus crisis is going to test all of us,' says Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath
The Independent TD says measures being implemented by the Government to delay the rates of coronavirus infections are "a welcome and proportionate response" to the scale of the public health challenges confronting Ireland.
He fully supports the decision by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to close schools and colleges, while acknowledging that these measures will cause significant levels of disruption to the ordinary lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
"Nevertheless, we have to be guided by the medical advice and to follow the recommendations that are being provided to us," the Tipperary TD says.
"I will have a number of questions for the health advisors and the chief medical officer [Dr. Tony Holohan] especially around how we ensure ongoing patient care to those who urgently require it. I will also be seeking assurances around the levels of support that are being provided to employers and employees."
Deputy McGrath says that while the coronavirus crisis does require a national response, it is vital that this is assisted in each of our communities by the adoption of the old Irish spirit of meitheal - a coming together to ensure the greatest possible outcomes for our neighbours and friends.
"In my own village of Newcastle, we will be working to ensure that community alert and phone lines are up and going, especially for the older members of our community. It is vital that they have a lifeline to call should they need someone to travel to the pharmacist on their behalf for example," he says.
"This crisis is going to test all of us. That is why we need a spirit of self-sacrifice and service to be at the forefront of our response,” he adds.