March 23, 2020
Use relaxed EU State Aid rules to help companies increase PPE production – Louise O’Reilly

Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the government to use the relaxation in EU State Aid rules to help Irish companies scale up the production of Personnel Protective Equipment for health workers.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Over the past number of days, health workers have raised serious concerns regarding a shortage of protective masks and gowns; especially in hospitals.

“Many doctors have contacted me about the shortage of equipment which has led to discussions about the recycling of PPE equipment which is not safe and should not be engaged in.

“The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) has also raised this matter as a cause for concern and have sought clarity from government about when new stocks will be available.

“Of the 906 cases of the virus in this State, 159 are associated with healthcare workers – that is 17.5% of cases. We need to ensure that our health workers are protected.

“I understand the HSE has procured much additional PPE and that is welcome, however we must ensure we have a stream of PPE production on this island as well.

“The government must also look at the domestic production of PPE through companies in this State who make protective equipment and ensure they are able to produce as much equipment as possible.

“The relaxation in EU State Aid rules would allow the government to help companies financially to scale up the production of PPE for health workers.

“It would also allow the government to help fund other companies who have the necessary workforce and machinery to make PPE but who were making different goods or equipment beforehand to change production lines to develop the PPE we need.

“Furthermore, the continuous theft of PPE and alcohol based sanitisers from our hospitals and health facilities is nothing short of a disgrace. Such behaviour is depleting stocks and putting health workers at risk. The government needs to bring in emergency measures, if necessary, to stop such behaviour and punish those responsible.”

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