Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response publishes final report

12 Oct 2020

The Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response has published its final report.

In the report, the Committee outlines a number of key recommendations, including that the State should both make provision for a statutory sick pay scheme to cater for low paid workers such as those in nursing homes and meat plants, and that the State should phase out support for facilities where residents do not have adequate self-isolation facilities.

Further to this, the report also identifies areas for continued consideration by permanent sectoral committees.

Amongst the matters referred by the Committee for ongoing consideration by the Joint Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration are: the need for the Department to review the practice of accommodating people seeking international protection in direct provision centres, hotels and B&Bs; the findings of the Dr. Catherine Day expert group report on direct provision; and the need to ensure that all residents in congregated settings are tested for Covid-19 routinely.

Issues identified by the Committee for ongoing consideration by the Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment include: the need for a task force or similar body to examine the terms and conditions of workers in the meat processing industry and the extension of the use of sectoral work permits; the need for sick pay schemes to be made available to all staff in the meat processing industry including those on general employment permits in the sector; and the need to review the role of the Health and Safety Authority in the industry, so as to ensure that the majority of inspections are unannounced.

The report marks the culmination of the work of the Special Committee, which was mandated by the Dáil order dated 20 July 2020, to produce a progress report that would enable the sectoral committees to continue consideration of the Covid-19 response.

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