Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence

Foreign Affairs Council: Minister for Foreign Affairs

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Chairman. Earlier this year in Australia there was an inquiry into Covid and how all this happened or from where it emanated. It is not about seeking to apportion blame but obviously we will learn lessons from it. Covid-19 has and is, as we know, killing many millions and devastating the economy. I would have thought there was an obvious obligation on the international community to involve itself in such a process and investigation. Can the Minister enlighten us as to whether that appetite exists, especially in the context of a vaccine, which has given us all hope that we would be in a position to exit from this calamitous situation? It has dominated the world for almost a year at this stage.

It was reported earlier in the year, although it may not be the case and that is why I ask, that some countries within the Union which were hardest hit by Covid did not necessarily appreciate - or it was not apparent that they were getting - the level of support that one would expect from their counterparts in the Union. That dissipated and there is now a more unified and a better European-centred approach that will allow countries to be in a situation where citizens throughout the EU see a pathway where there will be a universal approach. We saw that recently in relation to travel. Many might say this is a belated approach but, as I said, this is not about apportioning blame but ensuring we build on the hope and evidence across the globe.


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