Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell has said that the government needs to clarify its procurement process after reports that millions was spent on ventilators that have never been used.
It was reported by the Irish Examiner that the HSE paid €14.1 million to an Irish events management company for ventilators that have not been deployed due to issues with their quality.
Roqu Media International Limited, owned by Westmeath man Robert Quirke, imported five flights of medical equipment from China in April as part of a contract with the HSE, but none of the ventilators have since been deployed in a clinical setting.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on public expenditure Deputy Farrell said that the reports are “highly alarming” and raise questions about the management of the procurement process.
During the initial days of the coronavirus pandemic the Irish government scrambled to source huge amounts of medical equipment including masks and other PPE, but also testing kits and more expensive equipment such as ventilators, out of fears that hospitals would be overwhelmed by a wave of cases.
Deals were often conducted quickly, as Ireland was competing with other countries for what were very limited supplies earlier this year.
“The sums of public money involved here are huge and the Government has a duty to ensure public money is not mishandled or misspent in any way,” Mairéad Farrell said.
“The Government now must urgently clarify what has happened here, how the procurement process was handled and on what basis this public money was spent.”