Leo Varadkar said that government formation talks with Fianna Fáil are ongoing (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

The Taoiseach has said that he will recall the existing Seanad to pass new legislation in relation to Covid-19 before the weekend.

However, Leo Varadkar said that when the new Seanad is formed he will not have the authority to appoint the Taoiseach’s nominees so there will be a question as to whether the Seanad can be legally constituted. He said there is therefore a risk that any legislation passed after that could be open to a legal challenge.

He also said that talks on government formation are ongoing between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

Mr Varadkar said that the Government has asked the Chief Medical Officer for further advice about social distancing, and if they recommend further measures the Government will implement them.

However he also said that people should not be berated for going to places that were crowded at the weekend as they probably did not realise until they turned up there and that he believes most people are observing social distancing.

He said any decisions will not be made because things are trending on Twitter.

The Taoiseach also said he could not confirm how many members of Cabinet were isolating due to Covid-19 because any medical issues were confidential and he did not believe it was in the public interest to share that information.

He said he hopes the Government will finalise today or tomorrow extra payments for people who have lost their job due to Covid-19, and measures to encourage employers to keep their staff employed.

He also appealed to people to “bear with us” in relation to testing. He said that health authorities are prioritising healthcare workers and those who are very unwell but that people would get tests carried out as soon as possible.

There are currently 906 Covid-19 cases in Ireland, and around 40,000 people waiting for a test.

Health officials have said that the waiting time for a test for the coronavirus is between four to five days.

This morning the Minister for Health said that priority testing, for example for healthcare workers, may be implemented.

Mayors call for lockdown to stop virus spread

The Mayors of Dublin, Cork and Galway are calling for a lock town across the country to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Dublin Lord Mayor Tom Brabazon says people who were out and about yesterday in parks as if it was a normal Sunday are not getting the seriousness of the disease.

He says a lockdown would require people to stay in their homes as much as possible being allowed out for essentials like food shopping.

Mr Brabazon also says there would be exemptions necessary such as for people who are delivering food to the elderly.

Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard says the Government’s social distancing guidelines are not working.

He says decisions must be made quickly to ensure the number of deaths do not spiral out of control like they have in Spain, France and Italy.

“There was an instance at the Salthill prominent yesterday where it was absolutely packed.

“We can’t step back and wait when you look at what has happened across Europe, particularly Italy.”

John Sheehan, Mayor of Cork and GP, says physical distancing is causing a lot of challenges for people despite their best intentions.

“The whole purpose of contact tracing is that we can find people who have been exposed and isolate them.

“If we have a five day delay for testing those people, who may have been exposed, may have transmitted the virus onto other people.

“The only way around this until our testing is more readily available is to have a total lockdown.”