Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee Imelda Munster TD has said that she expects HSE CEO Paul Reid to place a full and final value on the amount of unusable hand sanitiser procured by the HSE during the pandemic, having received an FOI casting doubt on previous reassurances from HSE officials.
Teachta Munster last week questioned Mr Reid and other HSE procurement officials on the matter, seeking to clarify if any further stockpiles of PPE purchased without appropriate due diligence would emerge, and commenting at the end of the exchange that the agencies National Director of Procurement has stated there was not.
Teachta Munster said:
“Following last week’s meeting with the HSE, the impression I felt officials gave was that we would not be hearing of yet another new procurement blunder.
“Today I received a copy of a Freedom of Information Request casting serious aspersions as to whether that is indeed the case.
“It was first reported in media earlier this month that the HSE had purchased €3.3 million worth of hand sanitiser that was unusable as a result of the product not being registered on the Biocidal Register.
“This Freedom of Information Request indicates that aside from issues with the products PCS number, there was a further issue with regards to the active substance not being sourced from a company compliant with Article 95 of the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) 528/12.
“I do not feel the HSE have as of yet adequately explained how it came to be that they procured products that they themselves state it would be an ‘offence…to make available.’
“However, what is even more worrying is that this particular hand sanitiser appears on a list of some 30 products over which the HSE had questions.
“Information in relation to all other products was redacted.
“While some may have arisen from donations or later been cleared for use, there may well be other cases not yet come to light.
“When Mr Reid appears before the Committee tomorrow I will once more challenge him to name the vendors of any hand sanitiser from which the HSE procured product which was subsequently found to not be cleared for use, as well as place a monetary value on each.”