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16 Aug 2022

Kildare Councillor says 'piss poor health system' to blame over Covid-19 situation in Ireland

Kildare Councillor says 'piss poor health system' to blame over Covid-19 situation in Ireland

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A Councillor from County Kildare has said that Ireland's "piss poor health system" is to blame over the current Covid-19 situation in the nation.

Social Democrats Cllr Chris Pender made the comments in a tweet referring to An Taoiseach Michéal Martin's announcement that the State's voluntary vaccination system will be maintained, after it emerged public health experts are exploring a mandatory system.

In his tweet, Cllr Pender said that while he is fully vaccinated and "not anti Vax in anyway", he described the idea of mandatory vaccination as "a horrendous idea to even float".

He explained: "We have a 97 per cent uptake in vaccinations. The issue is our piss poor health system at this point, as opposed to a lack of vaccinated population."

The Newbridge native's comments were similarly echoed by Sinn Féin Deputy and former Senator David Cullinane TD, who said that the introduction of mandatory vaccination would be "a mistake."

"Vaccines work, but the voluntary system, in my view, works best," the Waterford representative concluded.

Cllr Pender has been vocal in his critiques of various aspects of the govt: last week, he lambasted leadership from Dept of Education and Minister for Education Norma Foley over the issue of reopening schools, referring to it as "deplorable and downright negligent."

He was also among a number of Kildare politicians, including Sinn Féin's Patricia Ryan TD, Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O' Loughlin, and Green Party Cllr Colm Kenny, calling for cheaper antigen tests.

An Taoiseach's comments:

An Taoiseach Michéal Martin's comments came minutes after a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) revealed the issue is under discussion, with a paper being prepared by the Dept of Health.

Professor Karina Butler, chairwoman of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) said on Monday that mandatory vaccination could be "necessary for the overall good."

However, the Taoiseach moved swiftly to downplay the issue, pointing to the fact that Ireland had achieved one of the highest vaccination rates in the world under a voluntary system.

The Fianna Fáil leader said: "We’ve done extraordinarily well as a country in terms of a 94 per cent vaccination rate for the first and second dose and even 63 per cent for the booster.

"We’re top of the European Union league table in terms of the booster campaign," he added.

An Taoiseach's full statement can be read here.

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