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
Michael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
I will come back to the dates. The Minister is happy the social welfare provisions will continue until 9 May and thereafter can be rolled over by the Government. Everybody is happy with that. What is so wrong with this House having the power to determine whether it is necessary to detain somebody when an ill-defined person deems it merely "appropriate"? Some official somewhere could deem it appropriate.
I agree powers are necessary but it is Kafkaesque to think somebody somewhere would think it "appropriate" for a person to be detained for medical reasons. This is not necessarily a medical doctor but an ill-defined person. We raised the concern and we were told the power would extend to six months, which is an acceptable compromise. We now see it is November. I would welcome it if the wording brought it back to September but a draconian measure is not necessary. All the modelling we have suggests the worst of the crisis will have passed by November.