04 Oct 2022

Louth TD says people need to have confidence in Covid vaccine rollout

Louth TD says people need to have confidence in Covid vaccine rollout

‘Support and confidence’ are needed to ensure that the public has faith in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.

The Sinn Féin TD was speaking after the EU pulled back from their threat to trigger Article 16 of the Irish Protocol in order to stop AstraZeneca vaccines being exported out of the EU.

He said it was ‘foolhardy in the extreme’ for the EU to ‘even moot the triggering of Article 16’ as ‘it was grist to the mill of the Brexiteers who are already using it to their own ends’.

However, the ongoing issue with the provision of vaccines through the EU continues to be of concern to health authorities in the State.

Mr Ó Murchú said: ‘People need to have confidence in the rollout of the vaccination programme.

'We accept that there are going to be wobbles along the way but we need to ensure there is clarity of information in relation to the timelines for the rollout and any anomalies about the groups who are due the vaccines should be cleared up immediately’.

The Dundalk deputy also raised the issue of an ‘all-Ireland response’ to Covid-19, particularly in relation to travel.

‘At this point, the numbers are still bad and we still have the health service under severe pressure.

'There has been improvement but we need to ensure maximum suppression of the virus.

'We need test, trace and isolate infrastructure and proper travel restrictions including multiple test and quarantining.

‘We are open to a two island solution should that arise’.

‘We need people to do their best and not to travel outside the 5km zones except for essential reasons. People need to stay at home and adhere to public health advice’.

He told asked the Taoiseach in the Dáil last week: ‘Does the Taoiseach agree that a necessary element in delivering an all-Ireland response would be the sharing of information on travellers?

‘We are all aware that the Northern Executive Minister of Health, Robin Swann, has been looking for this information and this issue to be dealt with since last March. We have heard from the Department of Transport and members of the Government, including the Taoiseach, that there is a GDPR issue’.

‘I welcome that the Taoiseach said something rather positive about his interaction with the Northern Executive.

'Will he tell me what is the update and what is the lie of the land on this so we can cut off things such as the back door through Belfast (from Britain) and provide a proper all-Ireland response?’

Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘If we cannot deliver on an all Ireland response we at least need the information about people travelling on to the South after landing in Belfast airports and this needs to happen as quickly as possible, along with the other virus suppression provisions’.

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