Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Covid-19: New Measures: Statements


6:47 pm

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)

It has been said straightforwardly by many others that we need a straightforward, coherent plan. People are incredibly worried at this point in time. The people who work in the health sector have done amazing work. They are under incredible pressure at the minute.

Our health sector started with a lack of capacity in the primary care system, the hospital system and ICUs. We are dealing with that and are therefore starting from a bad place. When I refer to having a coherent plan, I am talking about vaccinations. Vaccinations have not been the game changer we wanted them to be but they are still huge from a health point of view. The follow-up to them is boosters. I do not like extolling the virtues of Israel, but many people will have seen the triangle graph which showed Israel on an upward trajectory of Covid infections. It then followed through with its booster campaign and suddenly we saw the bottom end of the triangle as the cases started to go down significantly. That is what we need to get to, which means boosters across the board. We need the Minister to engage with NPHET and NIAC, and we need to make sure we have all the capacity we are going to need. We must also utilise the capacity we have, that is, the mass vaccination centres, pharmacies and GPs. It is about using all that we can. I accept that we also need to deal with the wider issue of vaccinations across the world, whether that is through the TRIPS waiver or just ensuring that the capacity is there by whatever means. None of us is safe until all of us are safe.

We have all bored each other about antigen testing. We will all go back through the material on kildarestreet.comto see who said it first but the fact is that for a significant period we have known that we need a greater element of antigen testing. We need to facilitate it as much as possible. That means using it beyond schools and close contacts for everyone who is going through their life at this point. It is another tool that can catch mistakes. We are having difficulties with PCR testing. In County Louth, Dundalk, Drogheda and Ardee have significant issues as regards infection. We need pop-up clinics, and we need to do whatever we can to bring ourselves to a better place.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.