Sinn Féin joins global call for waiver on Covid-19 patent monopolies at Dáil Demonstration
Sinn Féin activists held a demonstration outside the Dáil today calling for the EU and the Irish government to support a temporary TRIPS Waiver for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The demonstration was part of an EU-wide 10 days of action in advance of the WTO Ministerial Council, where a decision on the TRIPS Waiver could be reached.
At the action, TD David Cullinane explained how “while over 61% of European populations have been vaccinated, less than 7% of people in low-income countries have received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccines. There are not enough effective and affordable vaccines, tests and treatments manufactured and supplied to developing countries. Central to this stark inequality are intellectual property monopolies which allow pharmaceutical companies to control how much is produced, where it is produced and allocated, and at what price.”
Ógra Shinn Féin members Darragh Keogh and Ciarán Meagher who attended the event said, “We are joining our voices to those of people all over the world who are taking action this week to call for governments to put people’s health before corporate profits. From Brussels to Jakarta, from Cape Town to the seat of the WTO in Geneva, we are demanding that world leaders take this tangible step now, before even more lives are unnecessarily lost. Others can join our call by signing the European Citizens’ Initiative on www.noprofitonpandemic.eu.”
Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew said “High income countries’ governments have so far failed to utilise all legal and policy means to compel multinational pharmaceutical companies to change. As promising antiviral treatments for COVID-19 are approved, the same challenges will prevail, with access for people in low and middle countries threatened by intellectual property barriers, high prices, and monopoly control over production and supply.”
Speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus also called for the EU to step up and support the global call to make Covid-19 vaccines and treatments accessible to lower-income countries. “One year after a TRIPS Waiver was proposed, the EU remains a key impediment,” said MacManus. “If the EU wants to take its responsibility to help end the pandemic seriously, it needs to agree to the proposed TRIPS waiver next week. Ending the WTO ministerial meeting without a meaningful intellectual property rights waiver is morally unacceptable. The cost of inaction is measured in human lives.”
MEP MacManus concluded by calling on government parties to provide clarity on their stance. “As the clocks ticks towards a WTO decision on the TRIPS Waiver, the European Parliament has issued a clear demand for the EU to support a temporary intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The European Commission and Member State governments must heed this call from the EU’s democratically elected institution. The Irish government can no longer shirk this issue. MEPs from the government parties are divided, with Fianna Fáil, the Greens and one Fine Gael MEP supporting the call for the TRIPS Waiver, while the three other Fine Gael MEPs were opposed. I call on the government to immediately clarify its position on the TRIPS Waiver, before the WTO Ministerial Council next week. A TRIPS Waiver is the best available option to increase vaccine production and supply in low-income countries, at prices they can afford, to ensure that no more lives are lost for want of access to Covid-19 vaccines or treatments. There is a moral imperative for the Irish government to take a stand for vaccine justice and insist on EU support for the TRIPS Waiver.” ENDS
Photographs of Todays Demonstration outside the Dáil