The Government is being asked to improve conditions for delivery riders working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes as the issues receives extensive media coverage following the deaths of Deliveroo rider Thiago Cortes and of a Dublin teenager.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary Fitzpatrick has said she intends to raise the issue in the Seanad next week as delivery riders are carrying out an essential service.

Deliveroo, one of the main food delivery services operating in the capital, says it is planning to issue free personal alarms to its riders in Ireland and that the company is working "collaboratively" with gardaí.

The company is also trialling a new app called Busby which can detect near misses and alert four emergency contacts if the rider does not respond.

Gardaí say they have launched a special operation in the north Dublin city area to combat the attacks and appointed a designated liaison officer in each Dublin division.

Research carried out by the English Language Students of Ireland found that an increase in permitted working hours and a one-year extension to their visas were some of the main requests from the riders.

Founder of ELSU Fiachra Ó Luain said the Government should act to improve working conditions for such workers.

"When the Government asks people to cocoon or stay at home, then an increased demand for deliveries is a direct corollary of this, therefore the Government has a direct responsibility and duty of care to these key workers," he has stated in a submission to Government ministers.

Mr Ó Luain said most delivery drivers are here as students working mainly for Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat only qualifying for Stamp 2 Visas which entitles them to work just 20 hours a week.

It also does not allow them to work as self employed, which is the basis of the contract with companies like Deliveroo and this means that they have to rent accounts from official holders for €50 a week.

This also means they are working under someone else's name and not covered by insurance if they are robbed, assaulted or involved in an accident.

Doubts about their employment status also means they are less likely to report attacks.

Deliveroo says riders are allowed to engage a "substitute", but must ensure that this person meets all requirements such as right to work in Ireland and has relevant insurance.

Mr Ó Luain says the Government must ensure that the workers are being paid the minimum wage and called on an end to "boosts" which pay higher during greater demand and incentivise working even when it is not safe.

The riders share maps of areas of the city that are not considered safe and the escalating number of confrontations in recent months culminated in almost all of the northside and southwest inner city being marked as dangerous for a time.

There were specific attacks reported in city centre locations such as Sheriff Street, North King Street, James Street, George's Street and Pearse Street according to Sport Against Racism Ireland.

ELSU has also written to the Brazilian Embassy asking them to tell their citizens here not to use racist or offensive language.

It has also asked the Brazilian government to help with a sporting initiative to bring delivery riders and local disadvantaged youths together.

Ken McCue of Sport Against Racism Ireland said there are plans for a soccer tournament between Brazilian teams and local 'bike boys' in city council five-a-side pitches at Sheriff St, Pearse St, Oliver Bond and the Markets.

However these plans had to be put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.