IRELAND'S TOP politicians have been ordered to wear a face mask when in the Dáil to stop the spread of Covid-19.
TDs, senators and all other top officials must now wear a face mask or covering when carrying out duties in Leinster House or the Convention Centre, where some official business is taking place due to the better capacity for spreading out and social distancing.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl wrote to TDs yesterday morning instructing them that face masks would become mandatory, asthe number of Covid-19 cases are rising in Ireland once more, and the general public have been ordered to wear them while in public spaces such as supermarkets.
Politicians adhering to the same rules would send a positive public health message, he added.
In a letter sent by the Ceann Comhairle and seen by RTÉ News, Mr Ó Fearghaíl said:
"In view of the latest public health advice on managing the risk of Covid-19 infection and the need for the Houses of the Oireachtas to adhere to best practice in relation to infection control and risk management, I am of the view that the Houses should adopt a policy in relation to the wearing of face coverings on the Leinster House campus and the Convention Centre.
"Leinster House is a shared workplace for an entire parliamentary community of members, civil service and political staff, contractors and media it is in all of our interests that we adopt a consistent and safe approach to working together during this pandemic.
"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 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, Monday, 20 July."
The number of daily confirmed cases in Ireland has been steadily on the rise in recent weeks, leading to Phase 4 of reopening being pushed back for at least three weeks to August 10.
Wok place-based clusters of the virus are of a particular concern to the Public Health Emergency Team, with outbreaks being reported in construction sites and fast food restaurants.
Speaking yesterday, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said:
"We can't underestimate how quickly clusters develop. We have come so far together, but we need to stay vigilant to prevent a resurgence across the whole country in the coming weeks."
70% of Irish people now say they are wearing masks in public spaces.