While I fully agree that the primary focus at present must be on the health emergency and saving lives, it is also important that we put a plan in place for the recovery of our economy and our society.
Hope has a powerful role during times of great uncertainty. We need to see a plan that gives hope to employers and workers, to the self-employed and to families and to older people.
I made this point to An Taoiseach this afternoon at a meeting with party leaders which I attended via conference call.
Without doubt we are facing severe and profound economic challenges.. The number of people now unemployed is shocking. It is critical that we plan for economic recovery and we can do this in parallel to managing the public health emergency. Those who are not directly involved in dealing with the Covid 19 crisis could be put to work on planning for recovery.
In response, An Taoiseach told me that the economic work has begun within Government Departments, but he stressed the challenge will be on the availability of funding.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer also pointed out that they are now looking at an exit strategy on restrictions which may involve steps at national, regional or county level.
While these assurances are welcome we are only at the beginning of the peak of this virus and the effects are already catastrophic and devastating on many levels.
There is no doubt that the road to recovery will be a long one. It is critical that we start to plan now for an Ireland living with and living after Covid 19.