Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Minister for Health for failing to take a hands-on approach with vaccine suppliers.
He said the Minister is failing to represent Irish interests with suppliers and is passing the buck to the Commission and civil servants.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“In his opening statement to the Dáil today, the Minister said: ‘some have characterised these shortfalls by AstraZeneca as the HSE missing its targets. This is incorrect – AstraZeneca is missing its targets’.
“Given these remarks and his public criticism of AstraZeneca, it is incredible and astounding that he has not picked up the phone himself to put pressure on AstraZeneca for their failures.
“The CEO of the HSE made it very clear that the responsibility for ensuring supply is with the Department and the Minister, and the responsibility for registering Ireland’s discontent lies with the Minister.
“It is disappointing and frustrating that the Minister has not done this.
“Minister Donnelly wants to deflect to AstraZeneca’s failures but he himself has failed to take an active role in securing vaccine supply now and in the future.
“The Minister needs to be far more proactive. We are losing out now because the Government was not proactive when other states made side-deals with vaccine producers months ago.
“That option is now lost and we need to have confidence that every option is on the table going forward.
“We need certainty that everything that can be done is being done.
“The lessons are not being learned. Other states are now moving ahead of us on second generation vaccines and booster shots.
“This demonstrates an outrageous lack of urgency. What is missing is a hands-on approach from the Minister himself.
“The Minister is also failing family carers and Fianna Fáil are putting out mixed messages on this.
“One Fianna Fáil TD gave assurances that the Minister said carers will be in cohort 6. The Minister has said that this does not reflect what was said.
“The Government needs to get its act together and ensure that carers, especially those of vulnerable children and adults who cannot be vaccinated, are rightly prioritised for vaccination.”