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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 826-853
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item HSE Staff
 Header Item HSE National Service Plan
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item European Health Insurance Card
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Health Services
 Header Item Hospital Waiting Lists
 Header Item Electronic Cigarettes
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Health Screening Programmes
 Header Item Health Screening Programmes
 Header Item Covid-19 Tests
 Header Item Health Services Staff
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Vaccination Programme
 Header Item Health Services Access
 Header Item Disability Services Provision
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 7
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 112 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 826-853

HSE Staff

 826. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of management and administrative posts for each CHO; the number of posts funded, filled and vacant, respectively; the basis on which they are filled, that is, permanent, temporary, agency and locum by whole-time equivalent in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11395/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter, as soon as possible.

HSE Staff

 827. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of general support posts for each CHO; the number of posts funded, filled and vacant, respectively; the basis on which they are filled, that is, permanent, temporary, agency and locum by whole-time equivalent in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11396/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter, as soon as possible.

HSE Staff

 828. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of patient and client-care posts for each CHO; the number of posts funded, filled and vacant, respectively; the basis on which they are filled, that is, permanent, temporary, agency and locum by whole-time equivalent in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11397/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter, as soon as possible.

HSE National Service Plan

 829. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when the HSE national service plan 2021 will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11399/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I formally approved the 2021 National Service Plan (NSP) on 12th February 2021 and it was subsequently launched and published by the HSE on 24th February. As required by legislation, a final copy was laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas prior to publication.

  A copy of the National Service Plan can be found at the following link:www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/serviceplans/national-service-plan-2021.pdf?utm_source=broadcast&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=corporate&utm_content=national_service_plan_2021.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 830. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the details of the meetings, correspondence and engagements he and his officials have had with a group (details supplied); if he will specifically address the concerns outlined by the group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11411/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I can confirm to the Deputy that I have received correspondence from the group referred to in the question and that I also met with some members of the group last year.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the Government has been guided at all times by the emerging scientific understanding of the virus and in particular has been in receipt of advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The advice of NPHET is usually provided in the form of a letter to the Minister for Health from the Chief Medical Officer, in his role as the Chair of NPHET. This advice is subsequently published on the Government website. It has set out a consistent set of advices and recommendations that are available for inspection by all.

The clear advice from NPHET has been and continues to be that our overarching objective must be to suppress the virus to the lowest level possible and to maintain it at a low level. This is essential for protecting public health and our core priorities of education, health and social care services and shielding the most vulnerable from the disease.

  Question No. 831 answered with Question No. 790.

Vaccination Programme

 832. Deputy Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Information on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor Zoom on Jennifer Murnane O'Connor asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans in conjunction with the Minister for Transport to provide free public transport services to and from the vaccination centres announced in counties Carlow and Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11434/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

European Health Insurance Card

 833. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the reason an Irish citizen resident in Northern Ireland cannot apply for a European health insurance card; the provisions that can be put in place for them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11440/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for a continuation of healthcare rights when on a temporary stay in a State covered by the Agreement. Under the agreement a person’s competent State will issue them with ‘an entitlement document’, in the case of the UK a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), to allow them to access these healthcare rights. The State which issues the relevant GHIC\EHIC is the State in which a person makes their social security contribution or receives a social security contributory payment.

Furthermore, under the Agreement, residents of the UK, including Northern Ireland, can continue to use their current UK EHIC to access necessary care while on a temporary stay in an EU Member State, until the card reaches its expiry date. At that point, residents of Northern Ireland may obtain a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), issued by the UK Government. Further information can be found on the NHS website, on how residents of Northern Ireland can apply for a new GHIC.

Also, in certain circumstances, persons who are frontier workers will be entitled to an EHIC under the terms of the EU UK Withdrawal Agreement.

The Government continues to recognise the importance placed on continued access to EHIC rights for the people of Northern Ireland. We are pleased therefore, that healthcare rights are maintained under the Agreement for persons resident in the UK, including Northern Ireland, when on a temporary stay in an EU Member State.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 834. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the number of persons on the waiting list for neuropsychological assessments in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11449/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte The Programme for Government – Our Shared Future’ includes a commitment for advancing neuro-rehabilitation services in the community. The Health Service Executive is leading on the implementation framework in respect of the recommendations of the National Policy and Strategy for the provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services in Ireland 2011-2015.

The Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy Implementation Framework (IF) was launched in February 2019. The overarching aim of the Strategy is the development of neuro-rehabilitation services to improve patient outcomes by providing safe, high quality, person -centred neuro-rehabilitation at the lowest appropriate level of complexity. This must be integrated across the care pathway, and provided as close to home as possible or in specialist centres where necessary.

These services should be configured into population based managed clinical rehabilitation networks (MCRNs). The MCRN, while an effective model in a number of European countries, is a new concept in Ireland. MCRNs are recognised as having the potential to bring together an appropriate range of primary, secondary and tertiary services to ensure equitable provision of high quality and clinically effective services.

Funding has been sought and approved to support the introduction of a managed clinical rehabilitation network demonstrator project. The focus of the demonstrator project is the development of post-acute and community neuro-rehabilitation services across CHO 6 & 7. In terms of service provision, this is where the gap is most evident in terms of demonstrating a Network model.

Funding became available from Q4 2020, with full year funding of €2.29m available for 2021.The learning from the demonstrator project will inform implementation of the Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy across each CHO and implementation of strategy will roll-out from 2022.

As the issue raised is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive (HSE) to reply directly to the Deputy.

Vaccination Programme

 835. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when social workers are scheduled to be vaccinated under the current Covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11450/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

   In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

Further details are available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/  .

  All of the groups will be covered as further vaccine supplies become available and the immunisation programme is rolled out nationally.

  Question No. 836 answered with Question No. 736.

Health Services

 837. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of disability services for children and young persons with spina bifida and hydrocephalus accessing health services within their local area and the equity of services received in Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street and Crumlin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11458/21]

 838. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the status of plans in the national model of care for paediatric services to transition adolescents with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.  [11459/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 837 and 838 together.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Hospital Waiting Lists

 839. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the way he plans to address the current waiting list of children awaiting surgery for scoliosis. [11461/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I sincerely regret that children can experience a long waiting time for treatment for scoliosis, and I am conscious of the burden that this places on them and their families. This Government’s priority is to improve waiting times for all patients accessing hospital treatment across all specialties, including Scoliosis.

It is recognised that waiting times for scheduled appointments and procedures have been impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result of the deferral of elective scheduled care activity in March, April and May of 2020, and since 2nd January 2021.

It is of note that key social distancing measures and Infection Prevention and Control requirements, such as two-metre distancing, have a material impact on the available physical space to deliver all hospital services, including scoliosis procedures, and this has had a significant impact on both available capacity and operational activity levels.

Despite the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic last year, by 31st December 2020 Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) had carried out 322 scoliosis procedures, a decrease in activity of 16% compared with 2019.

Children’s Health Ireland has advised that under the current HSE guidelines, they have reduced the number of procedures to urgent and those that are time sensitive. Children’s Health Ireland has advised that they are working with the National Orthopaedic Hospital Cappagh to expand orthopaedic capacity. This is expected to have a positive impact on orthopaedic long waiting patients, including reductions in waiting times for children with scoliosis. CHI is also running additional orthopaedic clinics in City West, using a new active clinical triage model, which is reducing the number of children waiting the longest for appointments.

Representatives of CHI, the Orthopaedic Spinal Team and the Advocacy Groups continue to meet as part of the Co-Design framework on a quarterly basis to work on providing solutions for patients in the spinal service.

Electronic Cigarettes

 840. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the measures that are being or have been taken to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to persons under 18 years of age. [11471/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The General Scheme of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, approved by Government in October 2019, contains provisions that will prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to, or by, persons under the age of 18. The General Scheme of the Bill is with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting and has also been referred to the Oireachtas Committee on Health for Pre-Legislative Scrutiny.

Vaccination Programme

 841. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú Information on Ruairí Ó Murchú Zoom on Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if consideration is being given to prioritising persons with disabilities under the age of 65 in the Covid-19 vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11481/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

   In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Further details are available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 842. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the details of the initiatives referred to under the heading switching off and being creative on page 20 of the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 - The Path Ahead by local authority area; and the expenditure provided for same by local authority area. [11490/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Frankie Feighan): Information on Frankie Feighan Zoom on Frankie Feighan The COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead details initiatives to support general well-being under the “Keep Well” campaign which is continuing through the ongoing pandemic. An investment of €7m overall in general well-being supports was provided under the headings: keeping active and being outdoors, staying connected with people, switching off and being creative, eating well, and minding your mood. In relation to switching off and being creative, Local Authorities and libraries, with advice from Creative Ireland, and working with partners at national and local level, are providing a range of initiatives to support individual and community creativity in the arts, crafting, culture and heritage.

  Overall, 31 local authorities are implementing 137 actions under the switching off and being creative community resilience campaign at a cost of €992,530. The target group for this activity is the general population however there are targeted activities towards specific population cohorts, such as: older persons (Including those in long term residential care), children and youth (parents), ethnic minorities and migrants, people with a disability, carers, and lower socioeconomic groups. Central to these projects is supporting individuals and communities across all age groups and social backgrounds to engage in creative projects, activities, and interactions.

  The following table provides the budgets for each of the 31 Local Authorities:

Local Authority Budget € Switching Off
Carlow County Council 25,165
Cavan County Council 30,251
Clare County Council 28,023
Cork City Council 37,646
Cork County Council 40,650
Galway County Council 30,000
Roscommon County Council 29,725
Donegal County Council 30,252
Dublin City Council 42,560
Fingal County Council 37,647
Kildare County Council 48,402
Kilkenny County Council 28,573
Leitrim County Council 30,251
Monaghan County Council 30,251
Limerick City & County Council 37,646
Galway City Council 23,528
Laois County Council 30,251
Mayo County Council 25,545
Longford County Council 23,500
Louth County Council 29,500
Meath County Council 46,500
South Dublin County Council 43,024
Tipperary County Council 30,000
Waterford City and County Council 30,000
Westmeath County Council 23,529
Wexford County Council 23,500
Kerry County Council 29,300
Sligo County Council 26,000
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council 43,060
Offaly County Council 28,000
Wicklow County Council 30,251


  Each Local Authority has presented a programme of creative activities. The actions include a variety of responses to areas such as mental health, cultural diversity, and isolation. Initiatives include virtual reading clubs, presentation of live musical /drama performances to schools and community settings, projects with older populations, well-being activities and supports across councils library networks, live broadcasts, bespoke theatre and musical performances to residential care homes and hospital settings, online drawing and sewing workshops, mindfulness campaigns and alternative farming. The following list per Local Authority provides high level detail on the initiatives per local authority area for the period of the Keep Well campaign in winter and spring. (note some activities have been impacted/adapted in line with COVID restrictions).

  Carlow County Council   

  The creative photography project will see the delivery of a county wide project in the format of a competition resulting in a publication.              

  Festival in a Van project visiting the 3 Municipal districts and targeting at risk groups such as the older person and vulnerable families.

  Story Ninja - Expansion of the current programme.             

  Cavan County Council     

  - One Book, One County running January-March, featuring group discussion and author events Bring Live Musical / Drama Performances to Centres, Schools, Nursing Homes using a bespoke van Where We Belong' - Multi-faceted Place-making project with a Christmas theme Storytelling / Oral Reminiscences Series to promote well-being and communication, supported by an online photographic exhibition platform

  Clare County Council       

  - Upcycling Xmas Challenge

  - Arts Activities - Dementia Friendly Visual Arts Programme & Well-being Activities Heritage Biodiversity - Campaign and Activities    

  - Range of Library and Museum initiatives

  Cork City Council              

  - Creative on the green' will be a community focussed creative programme of events/activities in six different locations                                              

  Cork County Council   

  - Exercise & Rhyme, Learn the ukulele, Origami Paper Play - Follow the Creative Fold

  - Community Art Trails, Carers' Project. An Artist By My Side, Creative Writing: Short Story Course       

  Galway County Council

  - Creative engagement with communities around their built and cultural heritage to create videos or other online formats for exhibition

  - Pop-up entertainment in community and healthcare settings

  - Artists in Communities project to devise a Life Lessons from Lockdown Project collating stories and positive reflections through creative engagement

  - Communities engage creatively with their communities

  Roscommon County Council        

  - Providing creative live entertainment in either a community and/or healthcare setting, for example, festival in a van, drive-in theatre and forget me not choir.

  - Creatively engaging with communities throughout Roscommon and around the world      

  - RCC will use print, post and social networks to creatively engage with local communities, for example a Taste of Roscommon cookbook/ cooking demos, virtual First Fortnight Festival for artists and Christmas calendars.                

  - Encouraging communities to engage creatively with historical places in their locality and the utilisation of spaces for the arts. Lighting up of Landmark Buildings in Roscommon.

  Donegal County Council

  - Uncover and Rediscover Programme Music in Donegal Care Homes; Nature is good for you Facilitated Creative Writing Programme. Facilitated Art Workshops - Home and Place Here and Now Multi-Disciplinary Arts for Older People

  - Community Christmas Concert                   

  Dublin City Council         

  - The purchase of a Glasshouse for a community garden off Henrietta St. which will be used as a “good head space” for locals in an area of high crime and drugs. Providing respite from the anti social behaviour around and bringing the community together, increasing a sense of pride in the local area. Horticultural education around planting will be provided in Spring.

  - Street mural on Cathedral Lane where 12 local multi-generational community groups will come together to look at diversity in their community; take pride in their local area and assist in drawing youths away from the local drugs trading.

  - Raising Voices Choir

  - Play Packs for Older People working with the Play Development Officer and Bio-Diversity Office

  Fingal County Council     

  - A unique live, online performance and recorded on video, featuring a programme of classical music works, for piano and voice. Centred on remembrance and hope, it will be dedicated to lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic. The event to take place in a Fingal Heritage property.

  - FCC in conjunction with Draiocht Arts Centre Blanchardstown is proposing artist-designed large-scale image projections onto buildings in the Dublin 15 area, with input from young people which will have massive community impact.         

  - Creative supports for schools: digital programme of well-being supports including online talks in helping your child with school-related anxiety, well-being for parents and other specific mental health topics; Well-being talks for children and teens with specific talks for neurodiverse and ASD children and teens; Sensory friendly online workshops; Afterschool coding camp; Creative writing programme; Participants will also receive a book bag of i-literacy and other literacy supports.         

  Kildare County Council    

  - A series of bursaries will be awarded in the region of €3,000 - €10,000. Including: Christmas themes, Grow Your Own (fruit and veg)/ gardening, Climate Change, Being Creative, Exploring Heritage On My Door Step, Biodiversity in My Garden Winter and Spring.      

  Kilkenny County Council

  - Garden of Light in Castle Yard Kilkenny, Made in Kilkenny Showcase and Curious Treasures exhibition displayed in windows.   

  - Christmas Themed lighting at Woodsock in Kilkenny         

  - Rewarding Reads Campaign: Beginners Creative Writing Workshops will be developed for those who want to learn the craft of writing Ireland Reads: A series of virtual author talks for adults and children including zoom workshops to schools to encourage engagement               

  - Ossory Youth 'Switch Off in order to Switch On to the World Around You': Programme of Activities 6-7 weekly sessions -Including: Photography, Yoga, Forest Skills, Meditation, Creative Writing, Arts & Crafts, Drama, Music & Cooking and a trip. Costs to cover to cover facilitators, resources, materials & trip

  Leitrim County Council   

  - Library Christmas Post Initiative involves primary school children writing a letter to all residents of County Leitrim's Care Homes which will be accompanied by a specially selected book and presented in a gift pack to all residents as a Christmas Gift.                

  - Wild Words Young Writers Group - this project would aim to work with a membership of young people from the region who have an interest in creative writing. The group would be provided with the opportunity of working weekly from January to March with 2 creatives on writing, theatre making and animation.          

  - Theatre Making - 'In Residence Theatre Companies' The Rabbit's Riot and Exit Does Theatre would work with people on the 10 traits of Theatre Making.          

  - Weekly Sing Along Sessions & Dance Yourself Happy - online which would invite people to take a trip down memory lane through favourite songs we all know and love. People would be invited to send their requests for a song of their choice/ Dance to fun range of upbeat music   

  Monaghan County Council          

  - Get Creative Programme including art classes, crafts, photography, writing, poetry, book clubs, music classes                 

  - Get to Know Your county - series of Heritage and Nature Walking Tours; Open days at estates/houses      

  - Look after yourself mindfulness packs    

  - Drive in Movies

  Limerick City and County Council   

  - Our County Our Stories community book club program - To keep our communities connected through creative reading and writing         

  - The Creative Music and Art Programme for patients of University Maternity Hospital Limerick                       

  Galway City Council         

  - Based on the model of 'Bringing it all back Home" this project will reach out to Transition Year students to engage with their grandparents and for grandparents to pass on their stories, poetry or skills which will then be documented and published.

  - Deliver a City community wide reflection project to encourage individuals, community groups, schools, businesses etc to reflect on the last 12 months living with Covid.                

  - Festival in a Van is a ready to go, fully formed under the "live, mobile, pop-up creative entertainment in community and healthcare settings" heading, Festival in a Van is a mobile performance space bringing arts into the heart of communities in a Covid-safe and engaging way

  - Eastside Youth Service operates a targeted youth service to support young people in dealing with issues associated with poverty.

  Laois County Council       

  - Get Crafting        

  - Splash into Spring challenge, an online challenge to post videos or photos of splashing into puddles to promote physical activity on rainy days.

  - The Bandwagon mobile concerts to Community Hospitals initiated by Music Generation Laois      

  - "If the Walls had Ears" Podcast Series

  Mayo County Council      

  - Radio book club

  - Drive-in concerts at Care homes

  - Switch off, Go, and Click (creative photography for families) Digital Buddies Creative Christmas    

  - Online creative projects (craft/ dance/ music/ visual art etc)

  - Cultural Companions and other programmes for older people to experience cultural events

  Longford County Council              

  - Christmas Arts and Crafts Handmade Christmas Cards by local children.   

  - Art for All, including arts, photography.

  - Longford Community TV studio School Around the Corner with local Primary Schools

  - Creative cooking

  Louth County Council     

  - Cultural Bubble Buddies

  - A Christmas Visit Music Concert online devised for Nursing Home enjoyment.

  - Festival in a Van                

  - Walk -through recordings capturing the essence of our cultural buildings including Archives, Museum and Louth Libraries.

  - Garden Bird Survey kits Encouraging and facilitating people taking part in the Irish Garden Bird Survey 2020 to 2021 by providing 'Garden Bird Survey kits'

  Meath County Council    

  - Music, Literature & Genealogy   

  - Arts Project - In the Midst of Masters      

  - Get Creative - Christmas workshop & learn to paint          

  - Heritage Initiatives specific to Co Meath

  South Dublin County Council       

  - 5 X 3 Artists in Creative Residence

  - Science, Technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM Lab) Workshops

  Tipperary County Council              

  - Bursary Scheme supporting local artists engaging in our community aligned to Keep Well Themes                                              

  Waterford City and County Council          

  - Creative Entertainment - Action to bring activities, workshops, seminars into people's homes and communities                

  - Creative Reading and Writing- A range of activities to be rolled out January to March under this theme and enabling people to Switch off and Be Creative     

  - Crossing the digital divide through training and the rollout of devices to help those who would like to engage in activities using social media    

  - Photography - Support for Older People's Council Photography Competition

  Westmeath County Council         

  - Creative Bursts: Deliver a series of STEAM workshops, videos and talks under the Creative Bursts Programme                 

  - Christmas Cheer: Deliver a Christmas programme of workshops, videos on crafting, music, and stories.     

  - Deliver a Creative Writing programme: 7 workshops        

  - Deliver a series of talks with popular authors

  Wexford County Council               

  - Art & Music programmes for specific target groups including those with dementia and those experiencing mental health difficulties              

  - Age Friendly Switching Off Activities to include intergenerational penpal and storytelling activities and creative heritage art programme.

  - Library Services Focus on Special Needs with creative writing, omnivista magic table technology activities, and sensory toy technology & training             

  - Parents Connecting Through Storytime

  Kerry County Council      

  - Creative tutors to engage with families around play at home activities and surrounding area

  - Writer in Residence Marie Holmes focus on well-being writing workshops

  - Film maker in residence Mieke Vanmechelen film making workshops       

  - Kerry local historian award - explore your local heritage

  Sligo County Council       

  - Virtual Christmas Tree   

  - Shine a light event held on the solstice on the 20th of December 2020.    

  - Workshops on developing bee and wildlife gardens and tree planting to promote biodiversity      

  - Workshops for parents and young people to support resilience, well-being, and mindfulness

  Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council               

  - Psychologist led eco walks in 7 parks across the county   

  - Creative writing programme - two strands - young adults & traveller specific programme

  - Festival in a Van concept

  - Spring in your step programme - heritage crafts, knitting, digital inclusion, try something new stories

  Offaly County Council     

  - Craft Mosaic bags for all ages delivered through local library service

  - Family Support / Life skills Programme (healthy cookery, DIY, home craft interiors, sensory gardens

  - Edenderry peace-making with Blundell Castle archaeology & art

  - Nature awareness and pod cast series

  Wicklow County Council                

  - Music and the Arts 1. Music Network - Deliver instruments and tuition, both group sessions and individual. To include piano, cello, violin, mandolin, voice, guitar, tin whistle and flute; "Festival in a Van" - music van will visit hospitals, nursing homes & hospice to provide concerts for residents. Successfully trialled in 6 local authorities to date          

  - Winter Care Packs - 500 packs being distributed, with HSE consultation to those in most need.     

  - Heritage and Nature 1. "My Place, My Heritage" - 2. "Nature is Good for You" - 5 themes spread over 5 weeks, in association with East Coast Radio 3. "Nature on Your Doorstep" - encouraging public to engage with nature, when on their 5 km walks - take & upload photographs

  - Libraries & Outreach 1. "Doula to You" Connecting expectant and new mothers who may be feeling isolated, focus will be on the mother. 2.Ukulele lessons 3. Yoga online 4. Beginners Short Story Writing - 5. Family History Classes: 6. Art Classes.

Health Screening Programmes

 843. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly when a person (details supplied) finished their work for his Department. [11506/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The Government accepted all 50 recommendations made in Dr Scally's Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Programme, which was published on 12 September 2018.

An implementation plan was published in December 2018 on the Department of Health website. The Minister for Health requested Dr Scally to undertake an independent review of the Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan was revised to take account of further formal observations submitted by Dr Gabriel Scally. A further revision of the Implementation Plan took place to encompass two further recommendations identified by Dr Scally in the Supplementary Report, which was approved in June 2019. 170 actions, across 58 recommendations, are in the final Implementation Plan, with actions across the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI).

  Quarterly progress reports on implementation have been carried out by the Department of Health since Q1 2019. They are published on the Department’s website. That reporting continues with the Q4 2020 report published recently.

  As of the end of 2020, there were 148 of 170 actions, arising from the 58 recommendations, completed.

  Dr Scally was requested to undertake a further implementation review, and this took place in late 2019. The report of this Review of the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Scoping Inquiry into CervicalCheck was received by the Department in April 2020. It was published on the Department’s website in December 2020. In this review report, Dr Scally says that substantial progress has been made, the vast majority of actions were on track or were completed, and he is satisfied with the approach and structures in place for implementation.

  The Department of Health engages on an ongoing basis with the HSE and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland as part of the oversight of the implementation of the remaining recommendations and actions. The CervicalCheck Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Anne Scott, will also have a role in oversight of the implementation of the remaining recommendations.

  Dr Scally suggested, in his second review report, that he “conduct one final progress review at a suitable point sometime after the coronavirus crisis has abated”.

  I am supportive of this and will raise it with the CervicalCheck Steering Committee at the appropriate time.

  In April 2020, the Department of Health commissioned Crowe, a management consultancy firm, to provide an evidence review and to support the Independent Patient Safety Council to make recommendations for a Policy Framework for Open Disclosure in Healthcare in Ireland. Crowe and their consultancy team submitted the report “Evidence to Support the Independent Patient Safety Council for the Development of Recommendations on a National Policy Framework for Open Disclosure in Healthcare in Ireland” to the Department of Health in January 2021.

  Dr Gabriel Scally was a member of the Crowe Consultancy team that worked on this report. This report will be published on the Department of Health website. Crowe completed their work on this project with the Department in February 2021.

Health Screening Programmes

 844. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the date on which the contractual payment of a person (details supplied) was paid. [11507/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The table below sets out the payments made to Gabriel Scally Consultants.

Transaction Date Payee Total Value (€)
19/08/2020 Gabriel Scally Consultants Ltd 159,129.20
13/11/2019 Gabriel Scally Consultants Ltd 134,746.66
26/06/2019 Gabriel Scally Consultants Ltd 311,397.84
28/11/2018 Gabriel Scally Consultants Ltd 262,902.00
12/09/2018 Gabriel Scally Consultants Ltd 266,255.00

Covid-19 Tests

 845. Deputy Réada Cronin Information on Réada Cronin Zoom on Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if Covid-19 testing is continuing at meat plants, in particular those in north County Kildare; if so, the frequency and reporting of such testing; the rates of infection found; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11509/21]

 846. Deputy Réada Cronin Information on Réada Cronin Zoom on Réada Cronin asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his Department or the HSE can identify the primary source of Covid-19 infection in north County Kildare and the virus strain or strains thereof, particularly in and around Naas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11510/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I propose to take Questions Nos. 845 and 846 together.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Services Staff

 847. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly his plans for resolving the public health doctor pay dispute; if he will replace their temporary contract with a consultant contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11513/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly This pandemic has highlighted that public health medicine must be reformed and strengthened to ensure that the skills and expertise of public health specialists can be leveraged to ensure maximum return for the Irish health service and ultimately benefit and improve the health of the population as a whole as envisaged in Crowe Horwath Report.

The HSE has completed a substantial amount of work on a detailed framework for the future public health model that includes consultant level roles. A process of engagement has begun between health service management and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO). The Department of Health and the HSE met with the IMO on the 27th of January. A second meeting took place on the 3rd of February and a number of subsequent meetings have taken place since. Further meetings between the parties are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks with a view to resolving the matter.

Vaccination Programme

 848. Deputy Alan Dillon Information on Alan  Dillon Zoom on Alan  Dillon asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the rationale for not including children under 16 years of age who are at very high risk of developing severe Covid-19 higher on the list of the vaccine allocation strategy; the conclusion provided by the National Immunisation Advisory Council in conjunction with his Department on its recommendation to exclude them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11514/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

  In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Further details are available at the following link:bwww.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/.

  There are currently three authorised COVID-19 vaccines in use in Ireland: COVID-19 (Pfizer/BioNTech), COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, and COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

COVID-19 (Pfizer/BioNTech) is licensed for active immunisation   to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, in individuals 16 years of age and older.

COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna is licensed for   active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, in individuals 18 years of age and older.

COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is licensed for    active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, in individuals 18 years of age and older.

  There are no data available on vaccine safety and efficacy in people under 16 years.

Vaccination Programme

 849. Deputy Joe O'Brien Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the stage of the Covid-19 vaccine allocation schedule at which special education needs teachers and special needs assistants can expect to be vaccinated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11516/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy sets out a provisional list of groups for vaccination. The Strategy was developed by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and my Department, endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and approved by Government on 8 December 2020.

   Vaccine allocation is a matter for my Department and further information is available here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/39038-provisional-vaccine-allocation-groups/.

   The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is the responsibility of the HSE.

   The aim of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is to ensure, over time, that vaccine will become available to vaccinate all of those for whom the vaccine is indicated. Given that there will be initially limited vaccines available, it will take some time for all to receive those vaccines and that has necessitated an allocation strategy to ensure that those most at risk of death and serious illness receive the vaccine first.

  The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable.

  The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began in February.

On the 23rd of February, I announced an update to Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy.

   In comprising the initial Vaccine Allocation Strategy, the NIAC listed several conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease and death. In the intervening period, national and international evidence has become available which has enabled a more detailed analysis of underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing severe disease or death.

  The NIAC has now been able to more comprehensively identify those medical conditions and to distinguish between those which place a person at very high or high risk of severe disease if they contract the virus. Medical conditions and the magnitude of the risk they pose will continue to be monitored and periodically reviewed.

  The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

  Further details are available at the following link: www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b44b2-minister-donnelly-announces-update-to-vaccine-allocation-strategy/.

  Group 11 provides for 'Those who are essential to education and who face disease exposure - primary and second level school staff, special needs assistants, childcare workers, maintenance workers, school bus drivers etc.'.

Health Services Access

 850. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if his Department will contribute towards the accommodation expenses incurred by families who need to travel to the United Kingdom for operations that cannot be carried out here (details supplied); and if his Department will prioritise these persons on the vaccination list. [11521/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly The priority is to first vaccinate and protect directly the most vulnerable amongst us, that is, those most likely to have a poor outcome if they contract the virus. The priority is to directly use vaccines to save lives and reduce serious illness, hence the focus on the over 65 year old cohort in long term residential care facilities, and healthcare workers in frontline services often caring for the most vulnerable. The next group to be vaccinated are those aged 70 and older in the following order: 85 and older, 80-84, 75-79, and 70-74. Vaccination of this group began in February. The NIAC continues to monitor data around this disease and indeed emerging data on effectiveness of vaccines on a rolling basis.

The UK Government website advises that travellers from the Common Travel Area, including Ireland, who have not left the Common Travel Area for the past 10 days, do not need quarantine and take tests after arriving. Travellers to the UK are advised to check local restrictions before travel.

Disability Services Provision

 851. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly the current average waiting times for child and adolescent mental health services and speech and language therapy disability services; if he will provide the average waiting times for these services from January 2020 to date by month in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11523/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Anne Rabbitte): Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte As the Deputy's question relates to service matters it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 852. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if he will address the issues raised in correspondence regarding measures implemented to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11526/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As you will be aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

  On 23 February, 2021, the Government published COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/.

  Since the emergence of COVID-19, the Government has been guided at all times by the emerging scientific understanding of the virus and in particular has been in receipt of advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). The advice of NPHET is usually provided in the form of a letter to the Minister for Health from the Chief Medical Officer, in his role as the Chair of NPHET. This advice is subsequently published on the Government website. It has set out a consistent set of advices and recommendations that are available for inspection by all.

  The Government has always been clear that a “zero covid” option is not one that is available to Ireland due to a number of factors, most pertinently the border with Northern Ireland and the Common Travel Area. Our proximity to Europe and the nature of the supply chains we are part of, both as an exporter and importer of vital goods, are also relevant in any considerations here.

  The clear advice from NPHET has been and continues to be that our overarching objective must be to suppress the virus to the lowest level possible and to maintain it at a low level. This is essential for protecting public health and our core priorities of education, health and social care services and shielding the most vulnerable from the disease.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 853. Deputy Patrick Costello Information on Patrick Costello Zoom on Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Health Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly if therapeutic horse-riding sessions for children with autism is allowed to continue under level 5 restrictions; and if families can travel outside the designated 5 km limit to avail of such services. [11529/21]

Minister for Health (Deputy Stephen Donnelly): Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly As you will be aware, the public health restrictions at level 5 of the Government's Framework Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted. The Framework continues to provide an appropriate mechanism to guide decision-making, and it will continue to be supplemented by more detailed sectoral guidance in relation to measures that apply at each level of the Framework.

  On 23 February, 2021, the Government published COVID-19 Resilience & Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead which sets out how in-school education and childcare services will be reinstated in a phased manner from 1 March, with staggered return throughout March to be concluded after the Easter break on 12 April. Information on the revised plan is available here – https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c4876-covid-19-resilience-and-recovery-2021-the-path-ahead/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/ThePathAhead/.

  Under the public health restrictions at level 5, all non-essential retail, and all non-essential services must remain closed. Information in relation to essential retail/essential services at level 5 is available at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9158-essential-services/.

  At level 5, people are asked to stay at home as much as possible unless they have a "reasonable excuse" for leaving. The Regulations providing for these measures are set out in S.I. No. 701 of 2020. Regulation 4. of SI 701 sets out a non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses for leaving one’s home. This non-exhaustive list includes at 4. (2) (k) to attend to vital family matters, including the provision of care to a vulnerable person.

  It is important to note that any essential travel should be undertaken with due regard to public health safety measures.


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