Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Questions (489, 532)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

489. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health if he will conduct a human rights impact assessment of the Covid-19 emergency powers (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7554/20]

View answer

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

532. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health if a human rights impact assessment will be carried in regard to the Covid-19 emergency powers. [7307/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 and 532 together.

The purpose of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions)(Covid-19) Regulations 2020 is to limit the spread of Covid-19 to protect the health of all persons and to save lives. The restrictions imposed on movement and events (gatherings) are consistent with the recommendations of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and have regard to the immediate, exceptional and manifest risk posed to human life and public health by the spread of Covid-19. I believe these restrictions represent a necessary and proportionate response to an unprecedented situation. We have now however moved to a new stage where easing of restrictions has begun. The Regulations were recently amended to extend their date of operation until 8 June 2020 and, in line with public health advice and the Government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, to provide for the limited lifting of some of the restrictions imposed by them. As we move forward with further easing of restrictions it is important to keep in mind the on-going threat that Covid-19 represents, taking care to ensure that any loosening of restrictions is on the basis of medical guidance and advice. We must also continue to keep in mind human rights and civil liberty issues and I have asked my officials to ensure that there is continued consideration of these issues as the next stage of easing restrictions proceeds.