Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called on the government to end its opposition to the worldwide call to waive intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.
Over 100 countries across the world are in support of the campaign to ensure vaccine equity for citizens of poorer countries.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Gavan highlighted that the issue is due to be discussed this week at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) TRIPS Council.
He called for immediate action, explaining that simply donating excess vaccines will not solve the crisis whereby just 2% of people across Africa have received vaccinations.
Senator Gavan said:
“We all know that nobody is safe until everyone is safe; the latest variant is further proof of this fact.
“Developing countries need to be able to produce their own generic versions of these vaccines in order to deal with the crisis. But EU countries, including the Irish government, have consistently blocked moves to temporarily waive the intellectual property rights of these vaccines.
“This stance is being taken for one reason only; to boost the already excessive profits of the multinational companies producing these vaccines.
“In effect, the government is aligning itself with Big Pharma, and against the interests, indeed the very lives of people across the developing world.
“I honestly believe the government has lost its moral compass when it comes to this issue.”