Thursday, 19 March 2020
An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála Eile Ar Mhaithe Le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Simon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
I will do my best. First, one does not need a public services card to apply for this scheme. The details of the scheme are on gov.ie. People are, as Deputy Brady rightly said, for obvious reasons instructed not to attend Intreo centres to make applications. In light of the current unprecedented circumstances, the Department is implementing our own HSE advice on social distancing and is therefore not requiring individuals to verify their identity to SAFE registration levels.
Regarding Ross's situation, we do not believe the provision currently applies, but I see the anomaly and unfairness there, so we will have a look at that and revert to Deputy Boyd Barrett.
To respond to Deputies Naughten and Rabbitte, joining up the dots for childcare workers is absolutely our intention. We have a group working between my Department and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to see how we can come up with a proposal to ensure childcare particularly for essential front-line workers. We need to have a conversation about what an essential worker is at a time of crisis and how we ensure that any such solution does not have unintended public health consequences, but the point is valid. Yes, students will be eligible to apply in this regard. I will follow up on the issue of employers who have paid out already and who will not see those payments recouped. I take the Deputies' point. There seems to be an unfairness there.
To respond to Deputy O'Dea's question about people on other payments, they will be topped up to the €305 level should they qualify for that if they are in receipt of another social-----