Sinn Féin spokesperson on Disability and Carers, Pauline Tully TD, has expressed alarm at the Taoiseach’s response when clarification was sought on the Vaccine Allocation Sequencing Plan.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD had sought clarification from the Taoiseach on concerns raised by several groups in the disability sector, following reports that people with disabilities, their families and carers, were left out of the published plan.
Speaking following the Dáil debate, Teachta Tully said:
“When asked to clarify concerns raised by many groups within the disability sector, instead of dealing with the question, the Taoiseach chose to accuse me and my party of politicising the issue.
“This is plainly ridiculous and should be withdrawn.
“The Vaccine Allocation Sequencing Plan does not mention people with disabilities once.
“The government need to give clarity to people with disabilities, their families and carers.
“Many groups in the disability sector, as well as contacting me on this issue, have published statements asking for clarity on this issue.
“Once again the Taoiseach is trying to deflect from his governments failures by throwing false accusations at the main opposition party.
“This deflection will not provide the answers needed.
“The Taoiseach then went on to state that the national immunisation advisory committee recommended to NPHET a particular sequencing for who should get the vaccine first, and that people with underlying conditions are high up on the priority list and that includes people with disabilities.
“The provisional vaccine allocation groups guide does not, however, include an ‘underlying conditions’ category.
“Number seven in the provisional order provides for People aged 18-64 with certain medical conditions. This needs clarification.
“I highlighted that people with disabilities were and still are more negatively impacted by the pandemic than those without disabilities.
“Many are not in a position to participate in the so-called new normal involving social distancing, the wearing of masks and regular hand sanitising.
“This negative impact has lasted for ten months now and it is critical that it is not allowed to last one moment longer than absolutely necessary.
“People with disabilities, their families and carers needed clarity that they will be prioritised in the Vaccine Allocation Sequencing Plan.”