Laois councillors in support of prison staff and businesses during Covid-19

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Portlaoise Prison

Portlaoise Prison

Prison officers as well as hard hit Laois businesses were foremost in the minds of councillors at their recent meeting.

One councillor who is retired from the prison service commended prison staff working through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllr Paschal McEvoy from Stradbally.
“I especially want to mention my former colleagues working in the prison service who are working under tremendous stress at the moment especially with visits being withdrawn from the prisoners.
“It’s not very nice but it’s a thing that has to be done and it really will make life a lot harder on the prison service at this time,” he said.

Video visits are now available for prisoners.

Meanwhile, the cost of installing coronavirus screens by businesses staying open was a concern for another councillor.
The perspex screens and hoarding required to keep staff and customers safe in shops during the coronavirus cost as much as €1,000 Cllr John King has said.

“Two chemist shops have been on to me. They have incurred costs putting up safety units inside the doors and that has cost in the region of €1,000 a shop,” he said.

The Cathaoirleach Cllr Willie Aird and Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley both called for at the least the three month moritorium on rates charges to businesses, a measure announced recently by Government.

Cllr Dwane Stanley said she has been contacted also by local businesses asking for support.
“I know the Government are saying we can suspend the rates for three months but we need to go that bit further than that because we don’t want businesses ending up with a bill when they do get back up and running,” she said.

Cllr Aird also welcomes the moratorium on rates, promising to do all possible to help businesses.
“Any other supports we can do we certainly won’t be found wanting. Laois County Council will have to put in supports for local companies who have been devastated by Covid-19,” he said.