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
Certain elements of section 16 are disconcerting but it is necessary. I support what the Government is trying to achieve here. It is important though that the chair may seek input from a consultant psychiatrist in cases that require clinical input but where no consultant psychiatrist is available the chair may decide the case. I hope that we would have an understanding from the Tánaiste that every effort would be made to have a teleconference in these situations so that patients' rights are vindicated.
I would also certainly like to hear from the Tánaiste that an appeal process should be in the Bill. Such appeals, when this is over, if they are still outstanding, should take precedence over other appeals because it is disconcerting that one person could rule on the freedom of a patient in this situation without any input from his or her doctor.
Given the seriousness of this, the issue I was to raise with the Tánaiste may seem somewhat less important. There is confusion amongst golf course owners too. We understand the value of mental health and the value to mental health of getting out and about. I would like a clear steer because some of them are trying to stay open. Others are following the Golfing Union of Ireland, GUI, instruction. At one level, it seems sensible that two people can maintain social distancing everything else being equal and at another level, it would perhaps require more supervision. I would like the Tánaiste to tell us whether we should shut them all because the Government has announced a complete shut-down of all sporting events.