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'Start this autumn fencing it off' - Green party calls for scheme to encourage farmers to plant a hectare of land

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Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (Brian Lawless/PA)

THERE will be fewer jobs in retail, transport and entertainment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Taoiseach has said.

Mr Varadkar said the new government will have to create new jobs through public, private and foreign direct investment, as well as education and retraining programmes for people who have become unemployed as a result of the crisis.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar said the next government will have to quickly institute programmes to allow people to return to education or take up training for jobs that will exist in the future.

“I think it's reasonable to say that there will be lot more jobs in care, there'll be more jobs in the public service there will be more jobs in construction for example," Mr Varadkar said. "There will probably be fewer jobs in retail perhaps and transport and the entertainment sectors, because of the way our economies change, not just here but across the world."

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who is involved in talks to form a government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, said the next government will have to introduce an immediate economic stimulus package with a “dramatic increase” in borrowing.

Mr Ryan called for 20,000 apprenticeships for people to retrofit homes starting this autumn as well as a new scheme to encourage farmers to set aside a hectare of land to plant trees.

“Start this autumn fencing it off,” he said.

"We will pay him or her for that to be a native woodland area. Let us start fencing it out this autumn and getting the agricultural adviser visiting and paying people because this is a better direct protection against any Brexit shock to the farming community than any other and has significant benefits down the line," he said.

Meanwhile, the public will be advised to wear face coverings and not face masks in order to avoid shortages for healthcare workers, the Taoiseach said.

The Government is expected to issue advice to the public on the use of face coverings as early as Friday following recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Mr Varadkar said he “believes” the Nphet advice will be for people to use face coverings in certain circumstances.

"We don't want to end up in a situation whereby we run into shortages again of surgical masks or rescue masks for those who need them the most and those are healthcare workers,” Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.

He said that there will need to be a public information campaign to tell the public "how to use them and when to use them" and to remind people that they are not an alternative to social distancing, hand hygiene, and good respiratory etiquette.

Earlier, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said fears about the use of face coverings hampering supplies for healthcare workers "seem overblown" and said it is “time for this issue to be definitively addressed”.

The Taoiseach also told the Dáil that the long-awaited HSE contact tracing app will now be "field tested in June" and will be "voluntary not compulsory". The app was originally promised in April and then May.

Mr Varadkar said the app will have “the benefit of additionality”, but it is not an alternative to manual-based contact tracing. He said that the data gathered by the app will be held on the phone, not centrally by the health service.

Online Editors