Republic of Ireland news

TDs and ministers 'strongly encouraged' to wear face coverings in Dáil

Wearing a face covering in shops became mandatory in the Republic on July 20 2020
Aine McMahon, Press Association

TDs and Ministers have been encouraged to wear a face covering while they are in the Dáil at Leinster House or the Convention Centre.

Dáil chairman Sean O Fearghail has asked public representatives to lead by example during the pandemic and wear face coverings to suppress the possible spread of the Covid-19.

It comes as the wearing of face coverings became mandatory in shops in the Republic of Ireland today.

Members are asked to wear them while in the Dáil chamber and in committee rooms, not while making a contribution or speaking to the house, with effect from today.

In a note sent to TDs this morning, Mr O Fearghail wrote that "the return to normal levels of parliamentary activity following the formation of government requires extra vigilance and adherence" to public health measures aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19.

He said: "The wearing of a face covering can play an important part in indoor settings where it is not always possible to adhere to two metre social distancing."

"Therefore, I am strongly encouraging members to wear a face covering in shared spaces and circulation areas, where at all possible, with effect from today."

"I would also encourage members to wear face coverings in the Chamber and in Committee rooms, when members are not speaking or making a contribution."

The note includes a link containing guidance on the safe wearing of face coverings.

"I would also encourage Members to wear face coverings in the Chamber and in Committee rooms, when not speaking or making a contribution.

"Members are requested to use their own face coverings; however the Facilities Unit will have reusable and disposable masks available if required," the advice reads.

The Clerk of the Dáil will arrange for the issue of a similar notice to all parliamentary political staff and other users of the buildings such as journalists and advisers.

The note adds members are requested to use their own face coverings, but that reusable and disposable masks will be made available to them if required.

"This measure is an important step for the protection of Members and staff.

"It is consistent with the most recent public health advice, and I look forward to your operation in this regard," the advice adds.

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