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New Covid-19 committee will examine response to pandemic

Sinn Fein has nominated David Cullinane as a candidate to chair the committee.

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Sinn Fein has nominated David Cullinane to become chair of the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee, which will sit for the first time on Tuesday (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sinn Fein has nominated David Cullinane to become chair of the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee, which will sit for the first time on Tuesday (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sinn Fein has nominated David Cullinane to become chair of the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee, which will sit for the first time on Tuesday (Brian Lawless/PA)

An Oireachtas committee that will examine the Government’s response to Covid-19 will sit for the first time on Tuesday.

The new Oireachtas Covid-19 committee will look at how authorities and agencies have responded to the pandemic and take evidence on the State’s response.

The special 19-member Oireachtas committee, which was set up last week, will on Tuesday consider the election of a chairperson, preliminary discussion on the development of a work programme for the committee and a date for the next meeting.

Sinn Fein has nominated David Cullinane as a candidate to chair the committee.

The TD said that ministers need to be held to account as they make big decisions with “huge cost implications”.

“All of those have to be probed and all of those have to be properly dealt with,” he added.

“We think that it’s important that the committee is fit for purpose.

It has to have a very clear focus and in our view, it has to be focused on those core issues which have emerged during the course of the pandemicDavid Cullinane

“At the moment there are no other committees and it’s unlikely that we are going to have those committees in place until there is a government formed.

“This committee will start the work immediately. It has to have a very clear focus and in our view, it has to be focused on those core issues which have emerged during the course of the pandemic.

“Everyone accepts there was a lack of comprehensive plans for nursing homes. That has to be the clear focus of this committee.

“We think that the committee is the first and is one of a number of steps in getting better accountability. This is one of the avenues of this committee.

“I don’t see it (committee) lasting more than a year but it cannot be a substitute for all the other committees. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the education side.

“There are profound issues that need to be dealt with.”

PA