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For Written Answer on : 23/03/2023
Question Number(s): 348 Question Reference(s): 14460/23
Department: Health
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Health if Traveller health care workers employed by Section 39 agencies will be eligible to receive the pandemic special recognition payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Last year the Government announced a once-off, ex-gratia COVID-19 pandemic recognition payment for certain frontline public sector healthcare workers, to recognise their unique role during the pandemic. Eligibility criteria for the payment were set following significant consideration and consultation.

While the Department does not comment on individual cases, I can confirm that in order to receive the recognition payment, staff must have:

  • Been in COVID vaccination cohorts 1 or 2, and
  • Worked ordinarily onsite in a COVID-19 exposed healthcare environment, and
  • Worked for at least 4 weeks in the 1/3/2020 – 30/6/2021 period, and
  • Worked in a HSE/Section 38 organisation, or one of the following:
  • 1. Private Sector Nursing Homes and Hospices (e.g. Private, Voluntary,Section 39 etc.);
    2. Section 39 long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities, working on-site;
    3. Agency roles working in the HSE;
    4. Health Care Support Assistants (also known as home help / home care / home support) contracted to the HSE;
    5. Members of the Defence Forces redeployed to work in frontline Covid-19 exposed environments in the HSE;
    6. Paramedic staff employed by Dublin Fire Brigade to deliver services on behalf of the HSE.

Staff who meet all of the above eligibility criteria are covered for this payment. I appreciate that many other workers, volunteers, and other citizens, provided important services during this most difficult time. While this is not questioned, it is important to recognise that this in itself is not sufficient to be considered eligible for this payment.

In recognition of the efforts of all workers, volunteers, and the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced a public holiday which took place on 18 March 2022. As of February this year, there is also a new permanent public holiday established to mark Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day.

Finally I want to again express my sincere gratitude to all healthcare workers for their efforts during what has been a challenging period for our health services.