TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said an inquiry into the State’s handling of the pandemic could begin early next year.
Speaking to The Journal at NBC Studios in New York, the Taoiseach said he supports the idea that an evaluation of how the government and previous government performed in respect of the pandemic.
When asked to be specific about a timeline for such an inquiry, he said:
“I certainly would be looking towards the earlier part of next year.”
The methodology and the structure of how such an evaluation would work would also need to be worked out, he said.
He said: “I would like to get to the backend of Covid first, all hands do still need to be on deck particularly within the HSE.”
“The objective of the inquiry would be about learning lessons from it… because the next pandemic or the next emergency – it’s not just about a pandemic – it could be a different type of emergency, but how does the State respond in time to such an emergency.
“I think we’re gonna have a challenging winter, not least, because Covid isn’t over, and incidents are still high. But also there could be other viruses and other issues,” he added.
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In terms of when a commemoration day might be held for those that died during the pandemic, the Taoiseach said he would like to hear ideas from people as to how people could be remembered.
A discussion around a commemoration was raised during his meetings with the Irish- American organisations he met this week while in New York, he said.
The Taoiseach said he was told Irish-Americans “had a unique type of grief in terms of losing people and not being able to go back home”.
He said he was told about the “grief and isolation” felt by the diaspora, stating that any such commemoration will have to include Irish people abroad.
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TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s visit to New York this week.