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
I welcome the introduction of the amendments by the Minister because there must be a sunset clause in the legislation. To be frank, six months will not be enough. The reality is that we have to get through a winter with this virus so it will have to be extended for another six months, regardless of whether we like it. First, we need a vaccine and, second, we must survive a winter with this virus and have those safety provisions in place. One never knows when there is going to be a resurgence of the virus. My amendment referred to 9 May 2021. I wished to flag that.
There is an issue arising with regard to older people refusing to let home care workers into their homes. They are too frightened to let them in. The Minister must provide reassurance to older people that the home care workers are fully trained in infection control and do not pose an unacceptable risk. It is important to point out to them that home care staff are there to try to keep people in their homes rather than have a situation where they end up going into hospital or into long-term care, where there is a far greater risk of them getting the Covid-19 virus.