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Cabinet and CMO action restricting movements

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The entire cabinet should restrict their movements as Health Minister Stephen Donnelly felt unwell this afternoon and contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn is restricting his movements as he met with Cabinet members yesterday.

It is understood that ministers will restrict their movements rather than previous reports that would have to be self-isolated.

The action was taken on the instructions of the Acting Chief Medical Officer, given that the ministers were working closely together and, therefore, prudence was required.

However, ministers will continue to perform their duties remotely.

Meanwhile, State Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne has gone into self-isolation.

He was tested for Covid-19 today after waking up yesterday with a “mild cough”.

After an early postponement of Dáil for a week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Dáil will meet this evening at 20:00 and the junior ministers may represent the Government on certain issues.

Speaking to RTÉ Six this evening, Taoiseach said Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was feeling unwell, had symptoms and had gone for testing.

He said all government ministers have been advised to restrict their movements pending the result of this test.

He said they had to be careful as there were a number of meetings that Mr. Donnelly followed up last night regarding Covid-19 and he informed the entire cabinet.

He said “very carefully”, it was necessary to inform Dáil about this and the Whip Chairman informed Ceann Comhairle who suspended Dáil.

Mr Martin said government ministers could perform their duties in a limited scenario in connection with online or telephone meetings, but he said he would work at his desk.

Mr Donnelly attended a press conference this morning announcing the latest Covid-19 plan to deal with the next six months.

Ceann Comhairle told Dáil at 5.15pm this evening that after “very serious information coming out of events today the Cabinet must self-isolate”.

Therefore, he said the opportunity to continue doing business does not arise and the house stays pushed until next Tuesday, or until “I am headed by Taoiseach to gather”.

Dáil was postponed until further notice, but has since returned with new ministers intervening to ask questions.

The Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan, had already restricted his movements as a member of his family was awaiting a test for Covid-19.

When told by presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes on RTÉ Drivetime about the Cabinet being told to isolate, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said “this is the first time I am hearing about this”.

Minister McEntee said: “I’m afraid that this is the first time I’ve heard about this. undertake.

“So I’m afraid this is news to me.”

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan earlier said Dáil’s suspension for a week because of concern for a Cabinet minister was not a proportionate response.

In a tweet, he wrote that Minister Donnelly and his close contacts should be tested, and junior ministers should deal with Government business.

“The government of the country can not be put in a stalemate due to 1 suspected explosion,” he added.


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