Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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640. To ask the Minister for Health the efforts he is making with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that the reopening of businesses such as driver instructors and hairdressers are synchronised across the island to protect businesses in the Border region from being disadvantaged while adhering to public health protection requirements. [11198/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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There has been significant engagement between the Ministers for Health, the Chief Medical Officers, and the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland throughout this pandemic. There have also been regular ‘Quad’ calls co-chaired the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with the First Minister and deputy First Minister to discuss the response to COVID-19, which the Ministers of Health for Ireland and Northern Ireland have also attended.

The engagement to date has been very pragmatic and constructive.

The administrations are seeking to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so on the advice of respective Chief Medical Officers.

Respective plans for the gradual and controlled easing of restrictions have been discussed given the importance of implementing consistent approaches wherever possible

A Memorandum of Understanding was formally agreed by the Chief Medical Officers of the Department of Health and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland on 7 April to strengthen North South co-operation on the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MOU focuses on facilitating greater co-operation on areas such as: public health messaging, research, programmes of behavioural change, ethics, evidence base/ modelling, and public health and non-pharmaceutical measures.

All parties recognise that in terms of public health measures in both jurisdictions, that it will be important to maintain strong North/South collaborative arrangements and, wherever possible, consistency of approach.


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