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Oireachtas committee to look at Covid response in other countries

The Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 response will discuss the legislative framework underpinning the State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic when it meets at Leinster House tomorrow.

TDs will look at the legislation and regulations introduced by the State in response to Covid-19 since March. The committee will also examine the legal framework used to underpin responses to the pandemic in the UK and other jurisdictions.

Members will also examine the human rights and civil liberty considerations surrounding that response when the committee meets tomorrow in the Seanad Chamber.

President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Gabriel Buquicchio and retired Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Jonathan Sumption are among the witnesses that will appear before the committee over three sessions throughout the day.

  • Mr Buquicchio and Lord Sumption will appear before the committee via video link from Strasbourg and London respectively, to discuss the legislative basis for the Covid-19 response in other jurisdictions at 10.15am.
  • Representatives of the Law Society of Ireland, Bar of Ireland and Covid-19 Law and Human Rights Observatory, School of Law, TCD will appear before the committee from Committee Room 2 at 12.20pm.
  • Representatives of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC) and Irish Council for Civil Liberties will appear before the committee from Committee Room 2 at 3pm.

Speaking before the meeting, committee chairman Michael McNamara said: “We look forward to hearing the opinions of legal experts and human and civil liberty groups on the legislation and regulations enacted by the State to respond the pandemic. Tomorrow’s meetings will give Members the opportunity to explore with national and international experts how the legislative framework might be changed and improved to deal with the current and possible future major health emergencies.

“We also, welcome Venice Commission President, Mr Buquicchio to the meeting to hear about the international response to the emergency situation in terms of legislation and also hear the human rights and equality issues raised by the emergency powers adopted in response to Covid-19."