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Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Overall Fiscal and Monetary Position (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: I thank the Chairman and the witnesses for their presentations. I refer again to the housing issue. There has been much talk about it this morning, but this issue has not been resolved. It is now causing cash flow problems because mortgages cannot be drawn down. I have a number of examples of applications where one party is being fully paid. Neither the employer or employee is in...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Overall Fiscal and Monetary Position (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Does Mr. Makhlouf not accept that the Central Bank has a role in this regard? All the evidence shows that there is no reduction in salary. There is also clear evidence from the employers that they are stable companies and that there will not be any redundancies or cutbacks in the pay of the employees, but the banks are still not allowing the drawdown. As I said, I have seen sales collapse...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Overall Fiscal and Monetary Position (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: I will touch on one other issue, which is house and apartment completions for 2020 and 2021. Dr. Cassidy cited a figure of 16,000 for this year and 22,000 for 2021. I know there is a gap because there was no building work for four months but surely we can increase that figure well beyond 22,000 in 2021, assuming there is no increase or surge in the outbreak of coronavirus?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Overall Fiscal and Monetary Position (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Will it have anything to do with the availability of finance?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: I thank the witnesses for their presentations and thank all the teachers, both primary and secondary, for their contribution and hard work over the past three to four months. It has been a very difficult time for everyone and particularly for teachers. I want to touch on the issue of substitute cover raised by Mr. Clerkin. I presume there is a panel of people available at the present to...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: What kind of expansion of that panel is Mr. Clerkin talking about? He said it is a pilot scheme. Is it in place for the entire country or only within certain areas?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Has there been engagement with the Department on this issue?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: What kind of numbers would we need for a permanent panel and how long would it take to put together?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: The need for an audit of schools was referred to earlier, as there are accommodation issues many of them. I can think of schools in my own area that are looking for additional accommodation to be built, which have been waiting for quite some time, and other schools that are pencilled in to be totally replaced. Has an audit been commenced by the Department? What is the status of the...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: How long would it take to carry out an audit if, for argument's sake, a decision was taken on those matters in the morning?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Have schools been encouraged by the Department to consider additional space as well as what they have on the school campus? Has there been engagement with school principals on this issue, where there are large or increasing numbers of students?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: What is the feedback from the NAPD's members on this issue?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: When would principals need a final decision to be taken on the 1 m or 2 m rule or other guidelines? What is the latest date they could get those guidelines? Obviously they would prefer to have them today or tomorrow but have the witnesses any idea about that? It cannot be left until the last week of August. Is there any indication from the Department yet on when there will be more...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Schools that have children with special educational needs have additional challenges. Has the Department engaged on this issue? A number of schools in my area have accommodation issues and they also have a large number of pupils with these challenges. What engagement has there been with the Department on this issue?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (Resumed) (7 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Does this include the possible need for additional staff to deal with this issue?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Tourism, Arts and Entertainment Sector (2 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Yes. I thank the witnesses for their presentations. I also thank them for all of the work that they have done over the past four months in a very challenging time for everyone. In the presentation this morning, Ms Licken referred to Cruinniú na nÓg, which is the free initiative for young people. What was done in that programme aimed at young people? I ask because many young...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (2 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: I thank all the witnesses for the work they have done with the Department, schools and students over the last number of months, which has been a very difficult time. I wish to raise an issue the witnesses have touched on already, which is remote learning. Do the witnesses feel there will have to be some element of remote learning and that not all schools will be able to return fully? I...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (2 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Regarding the actual connections to broadband in the schools themselves, do we still have a problem with some schools and do we know the scale of that problem? Teachers worked from their own homes because the vast majority of them had access. In some cases it was very difficult but they still put in the work and effort to ensure that they were able to communicate with their students....

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Education – Return to School and School Transport (2 Jul 2020)

Colm Burke: Do we know the scale of either secondary schools or primary schools where that is a problem?

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