Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Health

Departmental Inquiries

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail)
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715. To ask the Minister for Health if it is proposed to have an inquiry, public or otherwise, into the State’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31788/22]

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail)
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716. To ask the Minister for Health if he intends to establish a review of the State’s response to Covid-19 for the purpose of preparing for any future pandemics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31789/22]

Photo of Jim O'CallaghanJim O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay South, Fianna Fail)
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717. To ask the Minister for Health if he will confirm that any review and-or inquiry into the State’s handling of Covid-19 need not seek to apportion blame or criticise persons involved in the State’s response to this unprecedented event; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31790/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 715, 716 and 717 together.

The Deputy is advised that since March 2020, Government has focussed its response to COVID-19 around controlling the spread of the virus and breaking the chains of transmission and protecting those who are most vulnerable from infection.

Government has previously acknowledged the importance of reviewing the response to the pandemic. There has been a clear national commitment to continue to learn from the pandemic as the national and international understanding of the virus evolves, and where necessary to ensure that the public health-led approach evolves, as evidence and learning materialises.

For example, during the pandemic, Government established the Nursing Home Expert Panel which examined and advised on the COVID-19 response in long-term residential healthcare settings.

The establishment of an enquiry or review into the State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic would be a matter for Government.

I wish to underline that Government has demonstrated that it values the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the pandemic. In recognition thereof and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to COVID-19, the Government held a National Day of Recognition and Commemoration on 18 March of this year. Furthermore, an additional permanent public holiday will be in place from 2023. The Government also announced the payment of a COVID-19 recognition payment of €1,000 for frontline public sector healthcare workers, to recognise their unique role during the pandemic.

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