Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD today responded to information he received from Minister Hildegarde Naughton regarding airport testing capacity figures.
Speaking today, the Meath East TD said: “Responding to my questions in the Dáil this morning, Minister Naughton told me that Dublin and Cork airports will only be able to carry out 150 Covid-19 tests a day, rising to 300 a day by the end of the year.
“This is simply not good enough and won’t near meet the demand for these services.
“Indeed, it will barely cover a single flight arriving in.
“This capacity constraint is a direct result of the government refusing to put a testing system in place in our airports all year.
“They are now scrambling to get a testing regime in place ahead of Christmas, which will undoubtably see an increase in passenger numbers.
“The minister also said there should be further capacity in private sector testing facilities, but these services are not available in many counties posing further challenges for people.
“IALPA, the Irish Air Line Pilots Association, this afternoon told the Transport Committee that they wanted to see rapid antigen testing, affordable for passengers and give results in a short period of time, also included in these plans.
“Although PCR testing is the gold standard, it is expensive and time consuming compared to other forms, and this is not the first call for a mixture of testing systems to be introduced.
“It is unacceptable that we haven’t had a comprehensive comparison of PCR, LAMP and rapid antigen testing here, which would identify the effectiveness of these different types and allow their deployment if they passed an accuracy threshold.
“With Christmas coming there is an onus on the government here to ensure the testing and tracing regimes are robust and fit for purpose.”