Coveney: ‘Guaranteed level of income’ for all under radical coronavirus economic package

Coveney: ‘Guaranteed level of income’ for all under radical coronavirus economic package
Fine Gael Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaking to the media this evening following the meeting of the Cabinet Subcommittee on Covid-19.. Photo: Leah Farrell/

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has assured that the Government will introduce a “significant and supportive” economic package that goes “well beyond” what has been previously announced for those who have lost their jobs or those at risk of losing their job due to Covid-19.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1’s This Week, Mr Coveney said that the measures in relation to the package which will treat everyone equally will be announced this week.

He said the economic package will not seperate “those who have already lost their jobs from those who might lose their jobs next week” and will provide a guaranteed level of income.

Mr Coveney said that the package will “keep employers and employees connected through this crisis that will treat everybody equally”.

“We’re not going to do what some other countries have done which is provide support packages for certain sectors or certain numbers of employees, and not to others.

“We want to do something that provides, if you like, a guaranteed level of income for everybody across the country.

“Anybody who outlines simplistic ideas that involve billions of euros and hundreds of thousands of people, that is not a straightforward process. We wanted to be able to announce something and then be able to deliver on that announcement straight away,” he said.

He also said that we need to “protect” elderly people by staying away from them and ensure that “we do not in any way facilitate the spreading of the virus to elderly people who are very vulnerable”.

“We have well over half a million people in this country over the age of 70, they are vulnerable to this virus. We have 170,000 people who are either in cancer treatment or recovering from it. They are hugely vulnerable to this virus.

“We have 7,000 Irish children and young people with down syndrome in Ireland who have weak immune systems.

“It’s those in our society who don't have the capacity to fend off this virus, they’re the people we’re protecting and that’s what people have to think about,” he said.

He said that people need to be taking this virus “deadly seriously” and realise that the answer to limiting the spread of the virus is down to the public.

“People are asking the question why in China now are we seeing no new infections and the answer actually isn’t because of doctors or medical systems, the answer is the public in China in terms of how they responded to a state-imposed series of restrictions to keep people apart.

“The big challenge for us in a western democracy who live very differently and who have a very different relationship with the state, is do we have the capacity as a society to respond in a responsible way to protect each other, to listen to government, to listen to medical experts and to listen to the guidelines that have been given,” he said.

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