Seanad debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Living with Covid-19 Restrictions: Statements (Resumed)


10:30 am

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I welcome this debate and the Minister of State. I congratulate him on his appointment and elevation to the Department of Health.

I do believe that we need to have a rolling debate on the reopening of our country. The former Minister, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, made a suggestion at the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last week on the need to have this debate. It is important that the Houses of the Oireachtas have a debate on the reopening of our country, not just living with Covid-19, because, as Senator Currie has eloquently articulated, there are a myriad of issues that need to be addressed.

Part of our difficulty still remains the body charged with overseeing the HSE contract tracing, now more than ever. I welcome the Government's commitment to hiring more contact tracing personnel. There was a deficit as we headed into the second spike that should never have been allowed to happen. The Government and the HSE knew there was a second spike coming yet we did not recruit enough people for contact tracing.


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