Future generations will wonder why, when vaccines for covid had been developed, did Western governments facilitate the deaths of so many people in developing countries.
Ireland and the international community need to assist India with vital supplies of medicine and oxygen to prevent an unfolding human tragedy, according to Social Democrats TD, and Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Gary Gannon.
“The scenes we are witnessing in India today – people dying in the street and overcrowded hospitals running out of oxygen – are heart-breaking. Ireland, and the international community, need to assist in any way possible to help stop preventable deaths.
“The Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee meets on Thursday and I will be requesting that our government, and the EU, engage with the Indian government and offer whatever support is necessary.
“However, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney should act now, and liaise with the EU, to organise immediate assistance if required.
“The speed with which covid is spreading through India, and overwhelming its hospitals, is a stark reminder of the danger posed by covid. It should also remind the international community that none of us will be safe until all of us are safe.
“Currently, the United States is operating an export ban and refusing to export vaccine raw materials that could help boost vital vaccine supplies. Instead of building bridges to facilitate the mass manufacture and distribution of vaccines, Western countries have erected barriers that are strangling supply.
“Six months ago, India and South Africa proposed a temporary waiver on intellectual property and patent rights for covid vaccines and treatments, the so-called ‘Trips waiver’. That request, at the World Trade Organisation, has been blocked by a minority of rich countries – even as global covid cases surge to record levels.
“This is a scandal and future generations will wonder why, when vaccines for covid had been developed, did Western governments facilitate the deaths of so many people in developing countries.
“This failure to act not only damages developing countries, we are endangering ourselves. The uncontrolled spread of covid-19 results in mutations and variants of concern developing, which will inevitably find their way to our shores.
“I am calling on the Irish government to lobby the EU to support a Trips waiver and use whatever influence it has to change hearts and minds. The international community has covered itself in ignominy by failing to co-ordinate its covid-19 responses, but it’s not too late to do the right thing.
24, April 2021