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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 28 June 2022

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Questions (804, 917)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

804. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health when Irish Prison Service nurses will receive the pandemic bonus payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33866/22]

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Charles Flanagan

Question:

917. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health if State-registered nurses in respect of circular 012/2022 on the matter of the pandemic special recognition payment working in the prison service will be regarded as eligible staff in the context of the pandemic special recognition payment. [34474/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 804 and 917 together.

Firstly I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all healthcare workers for their efforts during this most challenging period.

On January 19th, the Government announced a COVID-19 pandemic recognition payment for frontline public sector healthcare workers, to recognise their unique role during the pandemic. Following extensive engagement with healthcare unions on the matter, on 19th April the HSE published eligibility guidelines and FAQs, as apply to the HSE and Section 38 agencies, which are available on its website: www.hse.ie/eng/staff/resources/hr-circulars/hr-circular-012-2022-pandemic-special-recognition-payment.html 

The HSE and the Department are currently examining progressing the rollout to the list of 6 non-HSE/non-Section 38 organisation types covered by the Government Decision. Rolling out the payment to eligible non-HSE and non-Section 38 employees is a complex task, particularly as these employees are not normally paid by the public health service, duplicate payments need to be avoided, and there are many organisations to be covered.

Officials in the Department and the HSE are prioritising the work needed to progress this. It is hoped that information will be published shortly for those certain non-HSE/S38 healthcare employees that are covered by the Government Decision and the process available to their employers to implement this measure for their eligible staff. This shall cover eligible staff in:

1. Private Sector Nursing Homes and Hospices (e.g. Private, Voluntary, Section 39 etc.);

2. Eligible staff working on-site in Section 39 long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities;

3. Agency roles working in the HSE;

4. Health Care Support Assistants (also known as home help / home care / home support) contracted to the HSE;

5. Redeployed members of Department of Defence to work in frontline Covid-19 exposed environments for the HSE;

6. Paramedics employed by the Department of Local Government, Housing and Heritage.

The Government is mindful of other workers who played their own part during this difficult period in sustaining other services. It is tough to draw a line on this matter, but the Government based its decision on the risks which the above frontline workers faced. In recognition of the efforts of all workers, volunteers, and the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced a public holiday which took place on 18 March 2022. From February next year there will also be a new permanent public holiday established to mark Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day.

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