Louth TD Peter Fitzpatrick has called for an all-Ireland approach to the Covid-19 crisis saying it is frustrating that people from Northern Ireland where there is an epidemic are coming into border counties.
The Dundalk TD said that people in border counties such as Louth are “very concerned” about people travelling across the border to communities here considering the high rates of positive coronavirus cases in the north.
The Independent TD said people are “busting their backsides” to control the pandemic here but every time he goes to Carlingford or Omeath there are people from the North there.
Deputy Fitzpatrick, speaking in the Dail as the country prepared to move to Level 3 restrictions, said: “I come from a border county in Louth and we are very concerned about what is going to happen with the coronavirus.
“It is okay for us in Southern Ireland doing our restrictions at Level 3 but are we going to work together as a united Ireland and get this sorted out once and for all?
“As for this thing about bickering between NPHET and the Government, we all have to put our shoulder to the wheel and work together.
“I am really frustrated.
“Every time I go to Carlingford or Omeath, all I see is yellow number plates coming from the North.
“We are busting our backsides in the South.
“If we look at all the coronavirus in the North, they are having an epidemic there at the moment.
“It is important that us in the South, us in the North, NPHET and the Government all put our shoulders to the wheel and work together to get it sorted out.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, responding to Deputy Fitzpatrick, said “it is a very fair point”.
“I spoke last evening with the First Minister, Arlene Foster, and the Deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill”, the Taoiseach continued.
“I went through what Level 3 meant in terms of movement across county borders.
“I asked that perhaps they would look at how they could take corresponding measures that would harmonise with the kind of measures we are taking in County Donegal and now nationally.
“They do not have the same schemes that we have here in terms of restart grants or wage subsidies. “They have a wage subsidy scheme, a furlough scheme, but they do not necessarily have the financial firepower to underpin quite a number of the sectors.
“That is an issue for them, and we will be keeping in touch with them on it.”
There were 828 new cases of coronavirus recorded in Northern Ireland on Wednesday taking the number of cases to 16,187.
There was one more Covid-19 death reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 586.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.