Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions

Cabinet Committees

1:32 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

Yesterday, I said to the Taoiseach that people cannot get a PCR test in Dublin for love nor money. Now that fact has been confirmed, although people in the Government's front bench were shaking their heads when I said that. Something else that the Taoiseach might consider is that, if people cannot get a test for a couple of days, they can understandably feel pressure to get a private test, which can cost up to €99. They can go to private hospitals to get a test and pay for it, which underlines the point about how unacceptable a two-tier system is when we are talking about the lack of capacity in our system. It is not just about the ICU and beds but the ability to test. If a person has €99, he or she can pop up to the Beacon and be tested today. That is the reality of what a two-tier system provides when faced with a public health emergency. All that Covid has done has highlight the inadequacies that exist with the two-tier system. We have an ongoing public health emergency with waiting lists and emergency departments. It is unacceptable on the issue with testing. The Government will not provide pop-up centres, which we asked for yesterday. If we nationalised the private healthcare capacity, we would be able to test people as quickly and urgently as we need them to be tested.


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