The HSE has revealed it is investigating alleged ‘parties’ being held at contact tracing centers including at least one in Limerick, in breach of Covid-19 protocols.
Senior officials have asked HR to undertake a “preliminary investigative exercise” into allegations made by a whistleblower through a protected disclosure sent to the Department of Health.
The Sunday Independent first broke the story, saying all of the reported ‘parties’ and ‘gatherings’ took place at a time when Covid-19 restrictions, including social distancing requirements, were firmly in place .
They added that the so-called “parties” took place at the workplace, including a birthday-related meeting during working hours or immediately after work.
It is understood the first rally took place in early 2021, during the country’s third and toughest lockdown. The other two “parts” were thought to have taken place last year.
In response to a question sent by the Limerick leader, the Department of Health said it was important that this action plan was allowed to conclude so that the “facts can be established”.
The Sunday Independent said the allegations were being taken very seriously by senior officials in the department due to concerns over potential damage to public trust, if proven to be true.
It was also revealed that the whistleblower was not an official HSE employee, but an external contractor.
In response to a follow-up question from the Limerick chief, the HSE was unable to reveal the location of the contact tracing center in Limerick, which is believed to have breached protocol.
He was also unable to reveal what action, if any, will be taken if the Limerick center is found to be breaking Covid rules at the time.
“We expect comments early next week,” the official statement to the chef said.