Limerick HSE lockdown party claims not substantiated

HSE chief executive Paul Reid

A REVIEW carried out by the Health Service Executive (HSE) found no evidence to substantiate whistleblower’s claims that contact tracing staff in Limerick held an office lockdown party in breach of Covid-19 guidelines.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed to the Sunday Independent that an initial fact-finding review identified no breaches of social distancing or mask wearing guidelines and found “no issues of concern”.

However, it said it would “engage with staff” on the “issues raised” during the review.

The whistleblower had alleged that four gatherings which they termed “lockdown parties”, were held at contact tracing centres in Limerick and Cork at various times during the pandemic.

According to the Sunday Independent, the whistleblower accused management of engaging in lockdown celebratory parties which were in breach of Covid guidelines and may have been illegal.

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The whistleblower, who was contracted to work at the centre by recruitment firm CPL, alleged there were breaches of social distancing and mask wearing at some of these events.

The complaint was sent to the Department of Health, where it was classified as a protected disclosure, and forwarded to HSE chief executive Paul Reid who ordered a review.

A statement from the HSE said the initial review had not identified any breach of guidelines or issues of concern.

“However, we intend to further engage with staff in the relevant contact tracing centre in relation to the issues raised.”

The whistleblower’s allegations were raised against a backdrop of workplace tensions at the contact tracing centre in Limerick. They made three complaints about work conditions at the centre, with the latest protected disclosure submitted last week.