Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2020

An Bille um Bearta Éigeandála ar mhaithe le Leas an Phobail (Covid-19) 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages


12:00 pm

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The regulation of the right to work comes under regulation 11 of the European Communities regulations of 2018. We are not aware of a definitive timeline for the completion of the review. However, it is under way and we hope it will be completed as soon as possible.

Public safety demands that regulators are careful to ensure that persons are qualified and experienced, and it is important that they carry out the necessary checks to make sure of this. It may be also necessary to carry out appropriate checks to determine if disciplinary or criminal sanctions have been taken against professionals. Otherwise, it could cause problems, not just for the patients, but also for the other professionals with whom these people might work.

I know it can be difficult for an applicant in direct provision to get the necessary paperwork for an application but regulators endeavour to facilitate these applicants within existing arrangements, while maintaining patient safety and ensuring that Irish standards are met. While this is an issue I can take up with the regulators as a general issue, it is outside the scope of this legislation. The Department of Justice and Equality is leading on work to ensure that public health measures within direct provision emergency centres for international protection applicants and refugee centres are in place.

I understand the point the Senator is making. I ask her to consider that perhaps this is an issue we can take up directly with the regulators to ensure that, even within the constraints I have outlined, there can be quick processing of applications. The Senator is correct that we need as many trained and qualified staff as possible to assist us in the battle against Covid-19.


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