Irish Covid inquiry to be set up this year – Taoiseach

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An inquiry into the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland is to be set up this year, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar said he wants to ensure that the terms of reference are right so it “doesn’t stray into all sorts of things” like he said the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry has done.

In January, Mr Varadkar said he wanted an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic “up and running” this year.

He said then that preparatory work by an expert group of academics had been completed and was being considered by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Last year, then-taoiseach Micheal Martin said an inquiry would be a comprehensive evaluation so the country would be ready for any further pandemics – but it would not involve health chiefs being called as witnesses

Speaking in Co Tipperary on Friday, Mr Varadkar said the inquiry will be set up this year, initially with a scoping exercise.

“But as with any inquiry they do tend to take time, and we also have to make sure we get the terms of reference right,” he told reporters.

“I can see across the water in the UK it’s straying into all sorts of things whereas in my view if we’re going to do an inquiry on Covid, and we should do, it should be to assess how the country responded to it, what we did right as a society and as a government and what we didn’t get right.

“You can never get everything right and how we can be better prepared for the future pandemic should one occur.”

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