Taoiseach must bring argument for TRIPS Waiver to EU Council Meeting – John Brady TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, today challenged the Taoiseach Micheal Martin to bring forward the argument in support of the TRIPS Waiver on intellectual property rights at this week’s meeting of the EU Council.
The Wicklow TD said:
“As the first fatalities from the Omicron Covid-19 variant are made known, the issue of the TRIPS Waiver must be addressed by the EU council.
"We all know that until humanity has achieved universal vaccination, the danger of new variants emerging is a very real, and constant threat.
"At this moment we are preparing ourselves across Ireland for a fresh Covid surge on the back of the Omicron variant, which will place renewed and sustained pressure on our health services.
"The reality is that we require a global roll out of vaccines targeting low-income-countries. This can only be achieved through the removal of intellectual property rights, to allow low-income countries to mass produce vaccines at massively reduced prices.
"The EU, with the complicity of the Irish Government have attempted to block the TRIPS Waiver. The approach to date of the EU appears to be to delay, and to derail any attempt to consider the TRIPS Waiver.
"Ursula Von der Leyen promised the world that the EU would make vaccines a global good, which would mandate a change of position at the World Trade Organisation.
"But the EU have whitewashed their moral responsibility. They have defied the democratic wish of the EU Parliament and have refused to make a stand against vaccine apartheid.
"The EU has made much of its claims to have sent 1.4billion vaccine doses to 150 countries. However, the reality is that these vaccines were not donated to low-income countries.
"They were in fact exported. With close to half of them being sent to high income countries such as – the United States, Japan, Britain, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Australia.
"A further 20% were sent to Brazil, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand.
"The EU is deliberately misrepresenting its record on an ongoing basis.
"Our own former President, Mary Robinson has claimed that the European Union represents the biggest roadblock out there to an effective solution to ramping up the supply of lifesaving vaccines.
"The World Health Organisation has stated that there are six times more booster shots being administered in high income countries than there are primary vaccines being delivered in low-income-countries.
"The reality is that where there is a low incidence of vaccination there is an increased chance that new and deadly variants will emerge. This is a fact. This threatens the capacity of Governments such as our own to manage the control of Covid-19.
"Prof. Kingston Mills, Prof. Sam McKonkey, Prof. Cliona Ni Cheallaigh, and Prof Luke O’Neill recently signed a public statement urging the Irish Government to support the generic production of vaccines and treatments to address the inequity of access to vaccines.
"The letter was handed into the office of the Taoiseach last Thursday.
"I want to again appeal to the Taoiseach to bring the argument in support of the TRIPS Waiver to the EU Council meet, which will take place on Thursday and Friday of this week.
"For the question remains, if the EU will not support the TRIPS Waiver, when will it put forward an alternative plan that has a hope of working, and when will it tell us what it is?"