by Matthew Austin , Laura O'Farrell February-19-2024 in Commercial & Business


The inquiry into the State’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be set up in the near future. The terms of reference for the inquiry have not yet been published.  The terms of reference will determine the full scope and limitations of the inquiry. However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has commented on what the inquiry will look like.

The Taoiseach has stated that the inquiry will include a review of the “whole-of-government” response to the pandemic. It will include a consideration of the health service response, covering hospitals, the community and nursing homes, along with the wider economic and social response.  It is understood that the inquiry will have a public element in order to hear the lived experiences of all of society. The review will be undertaken by those independent of the national response.

It is understood that the inquiry will be a fact-finding exercise to provide an opportunity to learn lessons from our experiences in dealing with the pandemic.  It is likely that the inquiry will have the power to compel production of documents from relevant healthcare organisations such as hospitals, nursing home operators and other residential institutions.

Until the terms of reference are published and the inquiry is established, we will not know the full range of its scope and powers, but this should not stop organisations preparing in advance. 

At this remove, it would be prudent for the relevant healthcare organisations, such as nursing home operators, to consider what documents they have that may be relevant, and to take necessary steps to preserve them. To this extent, the relevant organisations should examine internal systems from early 2020 and review documents that may be relevant such as internal emails, memos circulated, policies and procedures, or employee rosters, by way of example.

We will continue to watch this space and provide updates as they occur.

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