Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall TD has called on the Taoiseach to urgently establish a Forum to pursue all possible avenues for the provision of medical supplies for responding to the Covid 19 crisis.

Such a Forum would be charged with bringing together representatives of manufacturers, innovators, medical scientists, the academic community and enterprise in order to focus on creating domestic pipelines for the provision of these essential life-saving products.

“It is clear that there are now world shortages of items such as PPE, test kits including reagent, and respiratory equipment. We know also that because of these shortages, there is a very competitive and aggressive international market which hampers our health authorities in securing sufficient quantities of these products. It is also clear that there are problems with the quality of some of these products”, said Ms Shortall.

“In particular, the “test and trace” strategy which was intended would be followed has now been seriously delayed by difficulties in sourcing the reagent for analysing the test swabs. “In a country that has so many pharmaceutical plants one would expect that we could secure sufficient supply. We need to be told why exactly this critical material is not available and why it is that some of the pharma companies based here cannot supply it”, continued Ms Shortall.

“We have seen a small number of encouraging examples of innovation in some of these products over recent weeks, however, there is an urgent need for a Government-led Forum to initiate, coordinate and support all potential contributors to the design and provision of these critical products as a matter of priority.”

04th April 2020

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