Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, James Lawless, has submitted an amendment to be considered during today’s emergency COVID-19 legislation.

If accepted it would ensure a serious conviction for those found guilty of deliberate coughing and spitting at another person with intent to spread the COVID-19 virus.

Deputy Lawless explained, “As it stands under section six of the non-fatal offences against the person act 1997 it is an offence to spray, pour or put onto a person blood or any fluid or substance resembling blood, leading a person to believe that they have become infected with disease as a result.

“The amendment I have submitted broadens this definition so that it is not only fluids or substances resembling blood which are covered by the Act.

“We have to get very tough on this. We have already heard of one instance of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 deliberately coughing at a frontline health worker – there can be zero tolerance for this.

“The vast majority of people are doing their best to get through this terrifying outbreak, taking all precautions and strictly following guidelines. That there is a tiny majority who would do the exact opposite is deeply frustrating but let there be no doubt, they will not get away with it,” he concluded.