Cork TD: 'It's fully clear that Commissioner Hogan breached the quarantine rules'

Cork TD: 'It's fully clear that Commissioner Hogan breached the quarantine rules'
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE during a Covid-19 Committee Meeting at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

THE HSE Chief Clinical Officer has told the Covid-19 Dáil committee that people arriving into Ireland from non-green list countries have to quarantine, whether or not they have already tested negative for the coronavirus.

Dr Colm Henry was answering a question from Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry on whether EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan broke HSE guidelines by not quarantining for two weeks, because he tested negative for Covid-19 in a hospital test.

In responding first to the question, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said: "He is a public servant and I am not going to encroach into the area of any kind of political comment. What I will say is that our guidelines and guidance are very clear, both on the HSE site and indeed there is more in depth guidance on the HPSC site - that would be the go-to site in terms of information both in terms of travel and testing and testing negative."

Dr Colm Henry said: "The advice from the HPSC is clear in this regard that the people coming to Ireland from non-green list countries restrict their movements for 14 days. And that is irrespective of tests performed either abroad or here."

Deputy Barry attempted to question Mr Reid and Mr Henry in relation to a reported meal which Commissioner Phil Hogan is alleged to have had in a public restaurant at the K Club while he should have been in quarantine for two weeks after arriving from Brussels.

Chairman of the committee, Deputy Michael McNamara said the question could not be asked because it does not fall within the committee's term of reference.

He also reminded Deputy Barry of the Kerins judgement, arising out of questioning of former chief executive officer of the Rehab Group, Angela Kerins, by the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Reid also issued guidance to school principals arising out of questioning by Deputy Barry about an assembly of more than 150 first years at a school in Carlow yesterday for prayers.

He said: "Our guidance would be to avoid mass gatherings where possible."

Following the exchange, Deputy Barry told The Echo: "I think that the comments of the Chief Clinical Officer make it fully clear that Commissioner Hogan breached the quarantine rules."

He added that pressure on him to resign needs to be increased and said "reopening the Dáil this week rather than next week would be a help in doing that."

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