The outbreak of Covid-19 continues unabated and certain medical specialists believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will declare it to be a pandemic sooner rather than later.
Ireland is still in a containment phase, but life is being disrupted with a school now being closed for two weeks.
Other countries are seeing transmission rates increase.
For Ireland to remain in containment phase, cross-sector co-ordination of Government departments and the social partners needs to take place at pace.
For example, if an employee needs to self-isolate for 14 days, how can they claim statutory sick leave entitlements and payments if they are instructed not to attend GP clinics?
Ibec and the unions need to work with the Government to ensure that employees are not forced to break self-isolation guidelines in order to attain medical certificates to secure payment.
Leadership and courage are called for here and our politicians and institutions need to step up to ensure life on our island remains as normal as possible whilst also taking tough decisions to keep our people safe in the face of the new coronavirus.
Malahide Road, Dublin 17
Leo’s next move will make or break FG and his leadership
If there was a second general election, Fine Gael – with its strong appetite for the opposition benches – might find itself practically wiped out because I feel its supporters will flock to Fianna Fáil in a bid to keep Sinn Féin out of power.
Therefore, Leo Varadkar’s next move will have a decisive effect, not only on the party’s future, as it may actually result in a change of leadership if a second general election is called.
Artane, Dublin 5
Mudslinging at SF may just open up a can of worms
So, Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is asking for a probe into Sinn Féin’s finances, claiming that some members were living beyond their means.
This might be a good idea but he might think twice about opening that particular can of worms, as such a probe can go in directions it was not intended.
Of course, this is just mudslinging from Leo who is clearly spooked at Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin’s surge in the poles.
My advice to you Leo is, be careful where you throw that mud.
Kingswood Heights, Dublin
Problems of tech progress will gradually creep up on society
Economists like to think of the economy as a large pie, and the traditional challenge is to make that pie large enough for everyone to live on.
For most of the past thousand years, all but a few lived around the poverty line. Over the past few hundred years, economic growth has soared and this growth was driven by technological progress.
Economist John K Galbraith so lyrically put it that “man has escaped for the moment the poverty which was for so long his all-embracing fate”.
Another economist, Daniel Susskind, has appeared and is examining ‘A World Without Work’. He has already co-published with his father Richard a book entitled ‘The Future of the Professions’.
In that book, they explore the impact of technology on expert white-collar workers, lawyers, doctors, accountants and others.
Up to now it was assumed that these professions were immune and that only blue-collar workers would be affected.
In the 21st century, technological progress will solve the problem of poverty – that is how to make the pie big enough for everyone to live on – but it will create three other problems.
These new problems are the problems of inequality, which is helped along by an educated society.
The second problem is how to constrain the political power of big tech companies, and the third problem is how society and the state will provide meaningful living in a world with less work.
Unless the state can provide solutions to these problems, populism and chaos –
helped by social networks – will reign supreme.
These changes will not happen as a big bang but will gradually creep up on society.
This is helpful as it will give governments time to come to terms with the changes.
However, the slow ‘creep’ has its dangers as governments are only interested in short-termism and with the change of governments every four or five years the cans can be kicked down the road until it is too late.
Cleggan, Co Galway