by Anne Lyne , Lyn McCarthy March-19-2020 in Healthcare Law, Employment Law, COVID-19

A limited number of TD’s will meet today in Dáil Éireann where it is expected that the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020 (“the Bill”) will be passed.


1. Purpose

The Bill provides for emergency measures aimed at minimising the risk to human life and public health posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Bill also has an economic reach in that it seeks to mitigate, where practicable, the effect of the spread of COVID-19.


2. Key Provisions

The Bill proposes to amend the Health Act 1947, making provision for the Minister for Health to make regulations in the following key areas:

  • Prohibiting/ restricting the holding of certain events, to include the power to access certain premises and ancillary enforcement measures;
  • Empowering certain medical officers of health to order the detention of persons who are suspected to be possible sources of infection of COVID-19, to include necessary enforcement measures;
  • To confer on the Minister for Health the power to designate areas as areas of infection of COVID-19.


3. Social Welfare

The Bill also provides for the amendment and extension of the Social Welfare Acts in respect of  entitlement to illness benefit for persons who have been diagnosed with or are a probable source of infection of the COVID-19 virus and to provide for amendments in relation to both Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseeker’s Allowance to mitigate the economic effects of the spread of the virus.


4. Comment

The Bill, if enacted, empowers the Minister for Heath to regulate in key areas, in the fight against the spread of the disease within the State. The regulations are likely to contain significant powers relating to entry onto premises, detention of persons suspected to carry the virus who refuse to self-isolate and also a spectrum of significant enforcement powers.

The various regulations are likely to be introduced in a matter of days or weeks, given the current circumstances. All developments in this area will be monitored with interest.

For further information, please contact Anne Lyne or Lyn McCarthy

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