Local Fianna Fáil Minister of State, Deputy Robert Troy, has welcomed confirmation form the Department of Health that nursing home residents are now permitted to have two visits a week on compassionate grounds as care facilities benefit from the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The National Public Health Emergency Team gave their recent approval to permit long-term care facility residents to have the two weekly visits which can each last more than one hour.
“I have raised the issue of nursing home visitations with Minister Donnelly and Minister Butler over the past number of weeks and I am very glad to see that some level of relaxation has been afforded to all of the residents who have received a vaccination. This news will be a massive boost to the mental health and overall well being of nursing home residents and I am sure will be hugely welcomed by their families, many of home haven’t had face to face contact in over 12 months.
“The visits will be possible two weeks after full vaccination where 80 percent of all residents and healthcare workers in the care home have been vaccinated.
“Meaningful contact with family and friends is important at all times which is why these additional grounds will have been facilitated, early data has shown a dramatic decrease in nursing home related covid-19 cases following the successful vaccination of nursing home residents and as a result limited visits, in a safe and controlled environment will now be possible for residents,” Minister Troy stated.
Minister Must Extend Planning Grants
Meanwhile, Deputy Troy has called on his colleague, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to extend all planning permission expiration dates by a minimum of six months.
The call from Deputy Troy comes as level 5 restrictions continue meaning no certain return to work date for many in the construction sector.
“In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of constituents who are very concerned that their original grant of planning permission will have expired by the time they are able to commence building works. This will put an unnecessary financial burden on many couples and families who will have no choice but to reapply for planning permission.
“So far, the Department have extended permissions in a piecemeal fashion and at present there is a two month extension. At the end of the day however, this will not be of much advantage to those hoping to go ahead with building works, construction has effectively been stopped for six of the last 12 months and most developers will have a substantial backlog of work to get through when restrictions are lifted.
“I have called on Minister O’Brien to urgently announce a six month extension to planning approvals, this would allow a window of time for contractors to get works commenced. This extension would also allow prospective homeowners to hopefully restore any loss in income before commencing mortgage repayments.
I will be personally speaking with Minister O’Brien to re-enforce the need for this extension,” Minister Troy asserted.