East Galway TD Seán Canney has called on the Government to promote the use of rapid antigen testing, saying that not adopting successful measures to contain COVID-19 is damaging the economy and our social fabric.
Deputy Canney said that the Government is still failing to listen to the advice of Irish and international epidemiologists who are not members of NPHET.
This, he said, is making Ireland ‘a laggard’ in terms of opening up safe international tourism and hospitality opportunities.
“In 2019 a record 11.3 million oversea tourists were welcomed on the island of Ireland creating over in €5.9 billion in revenue,” said Deputy Canney.
“Regional Ireland is heavily dependent on a healthy tourism sector and the goal should be to get our economy open and growing.
“The Regional Group of TDs state that the ongoing aversion by Government of antigen testing will negatively impact our tourism, hospitality, and aviation sectors and thus a large section of our regional SME indigenous industries.”
The Independent TD said that given both the cost savings of antigen testing over PCR tests and the cost implications on the hospitality sectors in the coming months, one must ask “who in Government is actually writing the cheques to cover this activity?”
He also asked when will the “full costs of our outlier status be fully assessed, published and politically owned?”
“Our communities and our economy have suffered hugely, and it is now time for renewed and urgent action utilising the latest understandings in science and technology that can allow us to live with Covid-19 while we work to defeat it and get the economy going.”