Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (687)

Brendan Smith

Question:

687. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his plans to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic issues will be addressed on an all-island basis to the best possible extent; the level of cooperation in place at present between the authorities here and in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5803/20]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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 Tuesday 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. Other areas will be considered, such as procurement, where this is of mutual benefit.

 Minister for Health Robin Swann MLA and I  agreed the document along with our respective Chief Medical Officers, Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Michael McBride.

There has been significant engagement between us, our Chief Medical Officers, and our Departments throughout this pandemic. The MOU ensures timely and responsive communications and decisions in a fast-moving environment, and that both administrations will seek to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so on the advice of respective Chief Medical Officers.