Cathie Shiels

The Workers’ Party has called on the incoming government to upgrade guidelines on the use of facemasks, to make the wearing of masks mandatory in shops, on public transport, and in other public, enclosed spaces. 

The call is part of a five point plan issued by the Party for “Ensuring a Safer Exit from Lockdown.” 

Workers’ Party representative in Dublin Northwest, Cathie Shiels, said: 

“It is quite clear that the vague and non-prescriptive advice issued by government in relation to the wearing of masks has been totally ineffective. Its vague advice is all the more concerning given the government has acknowledged that wearing masks in shared public spaces has been proven to significantly reduce the spread of Covid19. 

“The government must act swiftly to drastically increase the wearing of masks – with compassionate exceptions for those who are unable to do so – and take steps to ensure sufficient masks are available and affordable.” 

Shiels continued: 

“I am calling on the incoming government to establish state-owned and -funded mask production facilities, to swiftly increase the availability of non-medical grade face masks, in line with guidance from the WHO. 

“One should be distributed to each individual in the country, with further supplies available for purchase at cost. 

“This should be accompanied by an urgent and widespread public information campaign, to communicate the message that ‘My masks protects you, Your mask protects me.’”

Shiels concluded: 

“Wearing masks is a new concept and behaviour for most people in Ireland. It is natural that people may feel some degree of stigma or embarrassment in relation to it. 

“The quickest way to overcome this is to ensure immediate and widespread usage of masks by making them mandatory for anybody in a position to use them.”  

The Workers’ Party’s full proposals for Ensuring a Safer Exit from Lockdown can be accessed at