Covid-19 regulations must apply to everyone, from both sides of the border – Carthy
Sinn Féin TD asks for Inquiry into high rates of Coronavirus in Cavan/ Monaghan
Cavan Monaghan TD, Matt Carthy, has called on the Minister for Health to urgently amend the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020, which would allow Gardaí to enforce Covid-19 restrictions not just on those resident in the State but also on persons visiting.
The Sinn Féin TD this week said that the anomaly, whereby Gardaí cannot apply the Covid legislation to those from north of the border, highlighted the pressing need for an all-island approach to this crisis.
Deputy Carthy also this week confirmed that he has asked the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to initiate an inquiry into the reasons why counties Monaghan and Cavan appear to have proportionally high rates of Covid 19.
“Many people have contacted me this week understandably concerned by reports of the limitations of the Gardaí to enforce Covid-19 restrictions on visitors.
“The primary emergency legislation that was passed in the Oireachtas a number of weeks ago provided for regulations to be made by the Minister which could be imposed on ‘…persons or classes of persons resident in, working in or visiting locations…
“However, the Regulations that the Minister did make, define an “applicable person” on whom the restrictions can be imposed as: ‘…a person whose place of residence is located within a relevant geographical location.’
“Therefore, it is possible for the Minister to urgently amend the regulations to widen the definition of an “applicable person” to include all persons, regardless of their place of residence.
“In this unprecedented public health emergency, An Garda Síochana must have the full suite of necessary powers available to them to enforce the restrictions equally, without exception.
“During this time, our normal daily lives have been suspended. The vast majority of people, north and south, have been adhering to the restrictions and staying at home. Our elderly and vulnerable citizens have been cocooning. It is important that everyone is treated equally and that nobody is seen to be outside the scope of these restrictions.”
High instances of Covid-19 in Monaghan & Cavan
Deputy Carthy also confirmed that, in response to recent figures released by the Health Protection and Surveillance centre that show that Cavan and Monaghan have recorded among the highest instances of Covid-19 in this state, he has asked the Minister for Health to initiate an inquiry into the reasons for this.
“There has been a lot of public unease, and much commentary, on these figures. They are surprising considering that the international evidence suggests that incidents of Covid-19 tend to be proportionally higher in large urban settings. Monaghan and Cavan are predominantly rural counties. Questions are naturally being asked.
“I have written to Minister Harris requesting that he provide whatever insight health agencies have into this situation. But I also think it is important that he agrees to carry out an inquiry into the reasons for such a proportionally high occurrence of the Coronavirus in this region.
“A commitment to such an inquiry would, in my view, help ease public anxieties and also allow communities and health officials to better prepare for the challenges of the coming weeks and months”.