News & Media

Compulsory masks on public transport long overdue but more action needed

10 July 2020

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

Following the confirmation that face masks will be compulsory on public transport from Monday, Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith TD has welcomed the move which he called for some weeks ago, but said more now needs to be done to ensure masks are more commonly used, and free masks should also be provided at train and bus stations, and other public settings.

Deputy Smith:

“I welcome confirmation this evening that finally the wearing of face masks will be compulsory on public transport from Monday. Face masks are an essential weapon in this battle against Covid-19.

“Transport unions and indeed users of public transport have been calling for this since the middle of April.

“But this directive is not enough, we also need a clear, concise advertising campaign educating citizens on the proper usage of face masks. Free masks should also be provided at train and bus stations, health care settings, work places and our secondary schools and colleges to build compliance.

“I have been calling on the Government to roll out a comprehensive public education campaign but also to consider the provision of masks to each household. This would cost around €60 million but would be a welcome investment for the months ahead.

“The coronavirus will be with us for a long time yet. This reality means changing the way we interact, the way we work, the way we travel, the way we socialise and the way we care for each other. There can be no shortcuts.

“We will shortly enter flu season and we cannot have a case of both Covid-19 and the flu hammering our hospitals. The capacity isn’t there to deal with this. Preventative measures like face masks coupled with good hand hygiene, physical distancing and proper coughing etiquette will go a long way to stopping the spread of these viruses. Face masks should not be seen as a sign of sickness but a sign of social solidarity."