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No date yet for winding down NPHET, Varadkar says

There’s no date yet for NPHET to be wound down, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says. However, he says i...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.39 31 Aug 2021


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No date yet for winding down N...

No date yet for winding down NPHET, Varadkar says

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.39 31 Aug 2021


Share this article


There’s no date yet for NPHET to be wound down, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says.

However, he says it’s likely the National Public Health Emergency Team will be “slimmed down” and take a “less public-facing role”.

He was speaking after reports over the weekend that NPHET could be wound down alongside the easing of restrictions in October.

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The Government announced its roadmap for loosening measures this evening, with Taoiseach Micheál Martin saying he hoped ‘all remaining restrictions’ on indoor and outdoor events will be gone by October 22nd.

The current NPHET - chaired by the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan - was initially set up in late January 2020 in response to the growing concern over COVID-19.

Their advice has been a key part of Government's decisions around both imposing restrictions and easing them, despite some public disagreements.

Speaking after today’s announcement, the Tánaiste said there’s no date for winding down NPHET, and it’s likely to be around for some months yet.

He said: “There isn’t a date for this NPHET to end, but it is intended that it will revert to a more normal role - perhaps be slimmed down, and perhaps a less prominent, less public-facing role.

“The last thing the Government would want to do is dissolve the body that has given us such good advice and such reliable information for the last year and a half.

"So there isn’t a date, as such, for that to happen.”

Mr Varadkar said people should be “very grateful” for the work NPHET has done over the past 18 months, suggesting the advice they’ve given has been right “most of the time”.

He said: “That’s not easy in this kind of work. We shouldn’t forget that many members of NPHET also have to do full-time jobs.”

Taoiseach Micheál added that other emergency response groups such as the COVID-19 vaccine taskforce will be "transitioned into" existing, permanent and more streamlined structures such as NIAC.

However, he said that's a process that will happen over time.

Main image: Leo Varadkar and Tony Holohan. Photograph: RollingNews.ie / Julien Behal

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