Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin said "bureaucracy needs to be pushed aside" in order for the Government to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will continue talks on Government formation on Wednesday, but will today meet to discuss the latest updates on Covid-19.
“We won't be talking about corporate formation today, we'll be talking about the latest responses to Covid- 19, but on Wednesday negotiators from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will continue discussions,” he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show.
“Those would be held last Thursday, but obviously the announcement around school closures and that and the fallout from that, that didn't happen. The talks will continue this week. And, you know, we've had talks with Independents, we've had talks with the Green Party some weeks ago that were quite extensive.
“I think what behind all of this we can all begin to see now, there will be enormous economic consequences arising out of this virus. Significant economic, social and decisions would have to be taken in the coming months, I think this is a longer haul than people might have thought.
“My view is we have to just brush bureaucracy to one side, and make sure that people can cut through and get what's required done.”
He said a leadership which has the “focus of the majority and also the certainty of time” is necessary to deal with the economic consequences that will arise from the outbreak.
“These decisions do demand the Government I believe that that has the focus certainly of the majority and also the certainty of time to take them and deal with the consequences of Covid-19 and economic decisions that have to be taken as a result of this.”
Commenting on Northern Ireland’s policy to keep schools open despite growing fears around coronavirus, Mr Martin said the two Governments are working to create a “more harmonised” approach to tackling the virus in both jurisdictions.
“It’s regrettable to the extreme that we seem to have an almost political dispute on a public health issue and that's something that should have been avoided.
“I know work is underway to try and get a more harmonised position on the island in terms of the movement of people.”
He added that Irish health officials are in discussions with British health officials because “if they lose control of it that has obvious implications for us.”
When asked if the country is going into lockdown, Mr Martin said a clear definition of what that means is needed, as those in China are still free to go outside.
“I think you need to define what lockdown is. I don't think necessarily, I mean, people walking about in China, and all of them had masks, by the way, they insisted on that. But people could go into the marketplace and so on.”
Hospitals are preparing to move patients to alternative facilities from tomorrow to make room for an expected surge of people with Covid-19, as a leading expert predicted that 50,000 people could require critical care during the crisis.