Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has called on Minister McConalogue to address the outstanding issues regarding his department’s role in the approval and subsequent recall of the ViroPro hand sanitation product.
Cavan-Monaghan TD Carthy has suggested that the minister and appropriate officials appear before the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee on Thursday.
Speaking today, Teachta Carthy said: “It is shocking that serious questions remain unanswered concerning the role of the Department of Agriculture in granting approval and subsequently recalling the ViroPro product. This debacle may have cost the state several million euro.
“The department need to clarify the process used to grant approval in the first place. According to the minister’s statement in the Dáil last Friday, it appears that ViroPro was not physically tested beforehand.
“They also need to explain why was this product not recalled when it was first appraised of the potential risk in September and why it wasn’t then immediately recalled on October 16th when there was firm evidence that it was dangerous to users.
“Throughout the entire process, the department appears to have been eager not to publicise developments.
“That the minister himself claims to have been unaware of this fiasco until last Thursday also raises concerns about the operation of his department. It is reminiscent of when the minister enthusiastically referenced ongoing testing at meat factories on the day that tests had actually been suspended.
“Many are rightly asking who is in charge in the Department of Agriculture.
“The outstanding questions must be answered and the Minister cannot evade his responsibility to provide those answers.
“We are currently seeking an urgent meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this Thursday to discuss, among other items, the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on marts. This would be an ideal opportunity for the minister and department to also address the outstanding questions on ViroPro.”