I take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the jockey Pat Smullen. His death has brought deep sadness to the horse-racing community and, indeed, far beyond that.
As we all know, Pat fought his own battle with pancreatic cancer but he also raised more than €2.5 million for treatment and research into that disease. It is fair to say that Ireland has lost a champion both on and off the racecourse. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Yesterday was billed as the day to bring clarity and forward planning. Instead what we got was chaos, confusion and very considerable anxiety for people. I am glad the Minister, Deputy Donnelly, tested negative for Covid-19. I am also glad that he got that result within a matter of hours. It has to be said that experience does not tally with people more widely across society. I make that point because 24-hour turnaround of results has to become the universal standard for everyone in society.
Last April, the Taoiseach's colleagues in government, Deputies Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris, told us that we would reach 100,000 tests per week. The Taoiseach will know that the Covid committee made a recommendation on the advice of experts that 24-hour turnaround for results would be achieved and observed. Months later, neither of those two important commitments have been met. Disappointingly, the Government's very lengthy plan announced yesterday was very sketchy in respect of testing and tracing. It provides no concrete targets or delivery plans in this area. I emphasise "this area" to amplify the basic public health advice, which is that to deal with this crisis, to get ahead of this virus, to flatten the curve and to keep it flattened we must test, trace and isolate. That is what the World Health Organization tells us and it is correct. In that spirit, when will we get to 100,000 tests per day? What is the target beyond that because 100,000 will not be sufficient? As I said, the all-party committee recommended 24-hour turnaround for results. When will we reach that target? Can the Taoiseach clarify those matters for the Dáil this morning because we need to get this basic central element right.
I am glad that we are back in the Dáil following yesterday's shambles. The public was left with a real sense of unease seeing the Cabinet being unable to work and the Dáil suspended. People have lost confidence in the Government's handling of this emergency, not least here in Dublin, where it has left people hanging in a very cruel limbo. It is not just that people are confused, they are beside themselves. There are people whose businesses are hanging by a thread, people whose jobs are in the balance and people who want to have social contact with friends and family. There is no clarity yet as to whether people can come and go from this city. The message from the press conference was that people should not move outside of Dublin. The Minister, Deputy Donnelly, said the opposite and then the Taoiseach was unclear last evening on RTÉ. This morning, again, we had two senior Ministers, Deputies O'Donohoe and Michael McGrath, contradicting each other within a matter of hours. It is an absolute mess. The Taoiseach needs to be straight with the people of Dublin. He needs to tell them what exactly we are facing. We need that clarity and certainty now. Can the Taoiseach provide that clarity? What are the current restrictions and will we be facing further restrictions when NPHET meets or when the new committee meets? Will the Taoiseach commit, as I have asked, to ramping up seriously, in a concrete way, our testing and tracing capabilities?