The Social Democrats have called on the Government to set a target of 10 Covid-19 cases per day in order to avoid a fourth lockdown. 

Co-leader Róisín Shortall said such a low target would give the country a fighting chance of returning to normality. 

The party has been advocating a "Zero Covid" strategy to tackle the disease along with mandatory hotel quarantine for all international arrivals. 

Speaking at the Social Democrats online national conference, Ms Shortall also said it was critical that a fully resourced and staffed vaccination plan is in place and ready to be rolled-out on a mass scale as soon as bigger quantities become available.

Ms Shortall said a high-level North-South Taskforce should be set up.

The Dublin North-West TD also said that the party wants to treble its TDs in the next election after gaining four seats last year, bringing the number of its elected deputies to six. 

She said: "We want to build our party's strength so we can provide an authentic alternative a social democratic alternative to the stale and regressive politics which hold back our country." 

In her speech, co-leader Catherine Murphy called for a Citizens Assembly to be set up to look at the role of religion in areas like health and education, and in public life. 

Ms Murphy said: "Civic society must exist separately. For that reason, a modern democracy has to include separating Church and State." 

She also said there should be a referendum on housing and that this would allow the State to cap the cost of building land and bring down the cost of housing.

Ms Murphy said the State's favouring of a market-based approach would not deliver affordable housing for ordinary people on average incomes. 

Earlier, housing spokesperson Cian O'Callaghan said the planned shared equity scheme should be scrapped. 

He said these loans would lead to house price inflation and senior officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the ESRI and the Central Bank had all warned against them.