News & Media

Reusable face masks should be provided to each household

9 June 2020

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

Labour member of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Response, Duncan Smith TD, has called on the Government to provide reusable face masks and instructions on proper usage to each household in the country.

Deputy Smith said:

“At today’s meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Response I raised the issue of each household receiving reusable face masks from Government in the coming weeks and if this would be beneficial as we face into a winter of unknowns and as lockdown measures continue to be lifted. I asked specifically if it was felt that this would be a good allocation of resources.

“In response to my questioning, Dr Cillian de Gascun said that this was a good suggestion in context of what is coming down the tracks.

“In the past in this country we have mass provided preventative products in the form of iodine tablets to each household. Providing proper reusable face masks and clear instructions on how and when to use them is something we need to strongly consider. Especially as there is a concern that there could be a seasonal element to the COVID-19 virus with prevalence in the winter months more likely”

“We know that every year we have a winter of discontent in our health service, with high bed and ICU admissions and lower uptake of the flu vaccine than we would like. We cannot have COVID-19 and the flu co-existing in our health service this year. We need to take all preventative steps necessary.

“While face masks are not an excuse to let go of the other important hygiene measures such as proper hand-washing, practising good respiratory etiquette and maintaining physical distancing, providing our citizens with reusable face masks and a clear education on how to use them is the natural next common sense step.”