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Taoiseach fudges response on need to prioritise family carers for vaccination - Mary Lou McDonald TD

17 February, 2021 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has expressed her disappointment with the Taoiseach's response to the need to ensure family carers are given a place of priority on the reconfigured vaccine rollout.

Ms McDonald raised the matter with Micheál Martin at Leaders Questions in the Dáil this afternoon and described the Taoiseach's reply as "a fudge".

Teachta McDonald said:

"It was a real shock to family carers, given the massive challenges they face and the risk to those they care for, that they were not included in the original vaccine rollout.

"It makes absolute sense that they are now included in any reconfiguration of the plan. I urged the Taoiseach today to ensure that this happens. Unfortunately, he fudged his response instead of bringing much needed clarity and certainty for family carers.

"We have all had a tough year. However, family carers have walked a particularly hard road in trying to ensure a safe environment for their vulnerable family member and worrying every hour about the risk of passing on the virus to them, the result of which could be devastating.

"Many carers have told me that their homes have become virtual 'no-go areas' over the past year. They fear and worry has made them prisoners in their own homes.

"HSE carers have been given a place on the rollout. In the north, family carers have been prioritised. There is no reason why the same should not happen in this state.

"The importance of the matter is reflected in the fact that the Oireachtas Health Committee has now unanimously agreed to write to the National Immunisation Advisory Committee on prioritising family carers.

"It is wrong to ask family carers to wait at the end if the vaccine queues with the general population. The Taoiseach, Minister Donnelly and NIAC need to see sense and ensure that family carers are prioritised."

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