Thursday, 17 December 2020
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
As the Deputy rightly said, that was a pressurised period. There was a rush on to procure personal protective equipment, PPE, and ventilators and we were seeing what was happening around the world with countries short on PPE and staff getting the virus and dying from it in some cases. We also saw what was happening around the world with a shortage of ventilators and what that meant in New York, London and other places. Thankfully we never got to that situation in Ireland. There was a rush on to buy necessary equipment.
When it comes to contracts, procurement and so on, that is done at agency level not at a political level. I do not have any particular recollection of any involvement in any contracts related to ventilators but I would have to check my records on that. At the time, we were getting a lot of offers of help. Deputy Shortall and other Deputies would have got those offers and I would have got them from Deputies. Any time I got those offers I passed them on to the agency. I certainly would not have got involved in discussions over money. Perhaps others did but I do not recollect that happening so I would have to check up on it. Like I said, there was a rush on at the time to get ventilators quickly.
Many of us would have engaged with the major companies. I remember engaging with Medtronic on ventilators because it is a major company in the west of Ireland making ventilators and exporting them. We wanted to make sure that we got our fair share of them for Ireland.