A motion calling on the Irish Government to immediately express public support for a TRIPS waiver on Covid-19 vaccines was passed tonight in the Seanad, in the process defeating a government backed amendment.
The motion also recognised that the European Commission has consistently blocked the introduction of a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on Covid 19 vaccines and technology at the World Trade Organisations TRIPS Council.
The motion, led by the Civic Engagement Group, was signed by all four Sinn Féin Senators who all contributed to the debate. In an unprecedented move, the government decided not to press their amendment which would have deleted the call for a TRIPS waiver. That amendment was subsequently voted down, before the TRIPS waiver was adopted by all present in the Seanad Chamber.
During a passionate debate, Senator Paul Gavan called on Government Senators not to vote for their own government amendment saying: “If you vote for the amendment you will be voting against a TRIPS waiver, which is essential to address the Covid crisis across the world. For two years now, we have rightly been told to trust the science, to trust the medical experts when it comes to Covid. Yet the government has consistently ignored the advice of the World Health Organisation and a whole host of medical and human rights groups when it comes to vaccine equity. When the history of this period is written do you really want to have your names down on an amendment deleting the call for vaccine justice?”
Speaking after the debate, Senator Gavan said: “If we really mean the words that nobody is safe until everybody is safe, then we have to back up those words with actions. The government should heed this clear call for a TRIPS waiver to ensure that the whole world has access to vaccines. They must use their voice at EU level to demand an end to the blocking of that waiver. Everybody can play their part in this campaign by signing and sharing the Peoples Vaccine Alliance petition at peoplesvaccine.ie”