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

Michael Collins: I thank the Chairman and witnesses. Tourism is one of the largest indigenous employers in Ireland and has been one of the worst hit in this pandemic. While I congratulate Deputy Catherine Martin on her appointment to this Ministry, it was a glaring mistake by this Fianna Fáil-led Government that it did not take the advice from me and my Independent colleagues to appoint a stand-alone...

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

Michael Collins: Can bed and breakfast accommodation operators be sued if somebody contracts Covid-19 when staying at their premises? Once a guest leaves bed and breakfast accommodation, when can the room be reopened for a new guest?

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

Michael Collins: I thank our guests for attending. I wish Deputy Foley the very best in her new role as Minister for Education and Skills and I pay tribute to the former Minister, Deputy McHugh, who was very fair when in his position. I am involved with the board of management at a school in Schull in west Cork. I can see at first hand the problems that schools will have with the return of students,...

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

Michael Collins: I fully realise the delegates' bodies are not the funding bodies as such and that the funding body is the Department. One of the first questions I asked was whether there are any indications from the Department on whether schools will be getting a bigger budget for cleaning and personal protective equipment. Surely there is some indication. If the delegates are lobbying, they are surely...

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

Michael Collins: What is coming back from the Department to the delegates on transport? Is there any talk about the seating plans? Will children have to wear masks? Is there any plan in place overall? Has anything been figured out yet? Will extra school buses have to be provided? What is the indication from the Department?

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

Michael Collins: I appreciate that. In the constituency I represent, 90% go to school in motorised vehicles. In some cases, the children have to travel many miles.

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

Michael Collins: Absolutely. A lady down in Innishannon wrote that book. Emergency works funding has been denied to schools. Many could be closed if they do not get the money to address their urgent issues. They are being refused. Has the money dried up? Have the delegates been lobbying in this regard? Is there any indication from the Department?

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

Michael Collins: I thank the witnesses in attendance today. I might call out the questions I have all together. The teacher representatives may answer some. Others are related to transport, as part of this was meant to be transport day. It is my understanding that students are asked to pay approximately two thirds of the cost of accommodation in August of each year to secure a place in student...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: I thank our guests for appearing before the committee. SMEs are dotted throughout Ireland but in my constituency of Cork South-West, in particular, they are the life and soul, employing many people in towns and villages. I have had many meetings with representatives of SMEs in recent weeks. Their main concern is that, to reopen their doors quickly, they need grants to be made available...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: Start-up businesses have been hit hardest. I spoke last night to the owner of one based in a west Cork town, who, like many others, is facing a massive uphill battle to keep his doors open. He cannot avail of the back-to-work grant because it is based on how his business fared last year. Other than giving the man plenty of sympathy, which people in his position are hearing enough of on the...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: Many SMEs are unable to avail of grant aid because it is determined by the rates paid, but many of them are using mobile units or places other than a building where rates apply. Has Mr. Moran any solution to offer to such SMEs or does a solution even exist?

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: I have spoken to west Cork small businesses, representatives of which are on the phone day and night at the moment. I represent a constituency where tourism is a significant employer, as it is in other constituencies. Tourism this year has been almost wiped out and a worry hangs over next year. The greatest fear of these businesses is that there is nothing else available to them but to...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: Mr. Moran will know well, from dealing with SMEs daily, that there is a considerable need to reopen Ireland, and in particular the tourism industry, in a safe manner. Can the witnesses encourage the Government in some way to invest in testing in our airports and ports, with the results available in one day, to bring in people to start opening up Ireland as a safe place to holiday and ensure...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Hospitality Sector (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: I thank the witnesses for their comments. I do need to say how businesses around the country in the pub, hotel and restaurant sectors are haemorrhaging money very badly. In my constituency of Cork South-West I have spoken to business owners from Kinsale to the peninsulas and there is serious concern out there. I will be putting a number of questions and I would appreciate it if the...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Arts and Entertainment Sector (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: I thank our guests. I have a number of questions for them, and maybe more than they can answer. If so, perhaps afterwards they will supply written replies to me or to the committee. Responsibility for the arts will now be under the remit of the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht. I am extremely disappointed that the islands have been taken away because...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Impact of Covid-19: Arts and Entertainment Sector (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: My time is up.

Written Answers — Department of Education and Skills: Student Accommodation (30 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: 114. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding third-level accommodation fees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12740/20]

Taoiseach a Ainmniú (Atógáil) - Nomination of Taoiseach (Resumed) (27 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: Today the majority of the Dáil will vote for Deputy Micheál Martin as Taoiseach of our country. I congratulate Micheál on his appointment. He is an extremely experienced parliamentarian and a Cork man. The joining together of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the formation of a Government, which I said for many years would happen as there is simply no difference between each...

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response: Covid-19: Testing and Tracing (25 Jun 2020)

Michael Collins: I welcome our guests and thank them for being here. I have a number of questions. I will begin with questions to the witnesses for the Department and the HSE. In response to a question I put to the Taoiseach three weeks ago, I was told that testing for Covid-19 cost €200 per test. My presumption was that was the cost of testing carried our in German laboratories. Earlier, we...

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