A new bill, which is a combination of four pieces of emergency legislation, is expected to have emergency Covid-19 powers extended until at least March, with one three-month extension possible.
A briefing note on the legislation, which is to be passed by the Oireachtas by December 16th, says the measures are needed because “Covid-19 still represents a public health emergency and continues to pose significant challenges”.
It said that vaccination alone is not enough to end the pandemic as a result of the more-transmissible Delta variant.
This bill will also see the extension of Covid-19 passes being used as well as facial coverings, the passenger locator form and penalties for breaches of the law.
It adds that no guarantee can be made that further restrictions will not be needed over winter.
“While it is the stated intention of Government that more restrictive measures wouldn’t be reintroduced, experience has shown that we cannot predict with any certainty what the trajectory of the disease will be.”
Oireachtas Health Committee chairman Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said it was preferable that the bill be discussed in full.
Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane stated that his party would be seeking a full debate on the bill.
IMAGE – Stephen Donnelly/”Delaware National Guard” by The National Guard is licensed under CC BY 2.0