Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Sean Crowe has called on the Government to do more to help families with the increased costs of living with Covid-19, particularly now that antigen tests and masks for children have been added to their household budgets.

Teachta Crowe said:

“We got the news this week that children were to wear and masks in schools and that families were to antigen test frequently when asymptomatic to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

“We also got the news that the Government in its wisdom is not to subsidise the cost of tests or provide tests or masks to families. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly believes that tests are now affordable for families at €3 apiece and has washed his hands of the matter.

“If you are a family of four or five and you’re paying €3 a test and you’re testing every day, suddenly your costs are €84 or €105 a week. Even if you only test every second day or even third day, that is going to going add up fairly quickly. Similarly with masks, an individual one-off mask may be affordable enough, but parents are going to have to stock up as children will invariably lose them or find the same one uncomfortable.

“In other countries, we have seen antigen tests being provided for next to nothing or given away free if you wanted them. The same with masks, but the Irish Government have not seen fit to help Irish families.

“We are now in the run up to Christmas. It is a time of year when the purse strings are stretched enough already and where too many families run into debt or feel forced to turn to money lenders. We cannot and should not lump parents with the additional costs of medical masks and antigen tests.”