Taoiseach doesn't tell Dáil whether Ireland will support a vote to invoke the '#TRIPSwaiver' - effectively suspending intellectual property rights on the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines - at a meeting of the World Trade Organisation this Friday
Taoiseach said the idea would have to be examined "in some detail" - but seems to cast doubt on whether the pharma industry's co-ordinated response to Covid-19 (in contrast to SARS in 2003) would happen again in future if IP rights were suspended or waived - then his time elapsed
He was replying to a series of opposition TDs who wanted Ireland to back a waiver at this Friday's meeting of the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
They see it as necessary to help southern hemisphere countries increase vaccine production.
Leaders' Questions: Alan Kelly points out challenge of meeting 82%-by-June vaccine target when much of the J&J inventory will not arrive until late June, and can now only be used for older population. Also points out that rollout must now hit 450k doses per week by end-June
Taoiseach tells Dáil that Ireland's highest delivery of Pfizer doses has arrived earlier today, containing 191,800 doses. @VirginMediaNews
Kelly suggests "the projections don't work out that way" - citing @Mark_Coughlan's sums on #rtept last night - and says the only way to meet 82% target would be to skip those between 50-60 for now, and come back to them when future larger J&J shipments come in
Leaders' Questions: Mary Lou McDonald demands assurances that income supports will continue as society reopens. She says there can't be one rule for those on PUP and another for former taoisigh, or senior civil servants, who are having previous cuts undone
Not for the first time, the Taoiseach says there will be "no cliff edge for supports" but also links them to economic revival which in turn is linked to suppression of virus.
"We are in a much better position than was anticipated, or was modelled, and that's good"
McDonald acknowledges that fewer will be dependant on PUP as society reopens, but wants assurance that for as long as some people are out of work because of public health advice for their sectors, those sectors "retain the full level of support that has been afforded to them"
The Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality has issued a whole raft of recommendations, including… [thread]
• Insert a new explicit clause into Article 40 on gender equality and non-discrimination
• Replace the text of Article 41.2 (woman in home) with wider clause on carers
• Amend Article 41 to protect private and family (incl non-marital) life
• Maternity leave for all elected reps
• Extend gender quotas for party candidates to local, Seanad and European Elections by the end of 2023
• Make funding to public bodies contingent on reaching a 40% gender balance quota by 2025.
• Require private companies to have at least 40% gender balance on their boards.
• Make public funding to cultural, sports, arts, media organisations contingent on a quota of 30% by '25
Bit of a cri de coeur from Stephen Donnelly, after @MickBarryTD urges the Government not to reopen too soon and to risk another wave of hospitals being overwhelmed…
"We need to be very careful right now. We’re in a sightly risky position, in that all fo the indicators are very positive, but we are not through this…
"Too many of us believe we are though this; that we don’t need to be as careful, that we can have as many social interactions, that we can meet friends in houses, because Ireland is doing well. But the reason that Ireland is doing well is because we’ve kept to the measures…
The easiest one to lift: outdoor activity generally carries much less risk, and if a family is doing so alone then the risk of transmission is virtually zero.
Some want it 10k to keep some structure, others want county-wide - some even think, scrap it.
Currently only ‘essential’ and local authority building is allowed - whether to allow more? The lobby is vocal and the housing shortage is acute but the sector is so large that mass-mobilisation of hundreds of thousands may bring workers too close together.
“It must feel for many people like this pandemic will never end,” Stephen Donnelly tells the Dáil, “but pandemics do end, and this pandemic will end too. The end of this pandemic is in sight.”
Questioned by @davidcullinane, Donnelly says Ireland now expects to have received 1.1m doses by end of Q1; this is 100k lower than expected from AZ; “as of right now, AZ have not committed to the EC that it will fulfil its obligations”
Cullinane notes we once expected 1.4m doses
Donnelly says vaccine rollout will not increase “incrementally” from April, but will rather be a “step-change” because of how many vaccine deliveries are expected to arrive in the coming days
🏨 The arrangements for mandatory hotel quarantine have been finalised and the booking website is now open. Applied to all arrivals into Ireland who have been within 33 ‘high risk’ countries within the previous fortnight. €1875 per adult for 12-day stay, €360 per child sharing.
Seems to take effect from this Friday, based on the availability listed on the booking website. gov.ie/quarantine
Govt statement confirms it takes effect from 4am Friday morning; Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport Hotel in Santry will be the first facility used
Alan Kelly tells Dáil that Stephen Donnelly has given wrong info to the Dáil this morning - Donnelly said there had been around 40,000 Pfizer doses last week (which in practice is 48k) but @craighughes points HSE figures which say it's quite a bit less
Kelly says he doesn't like the phrase 'Zero-Covid' himself but that "the public are ahead of us" in wanting aggressive suppression of virus. Says #rtept on Tuesday, with talk of Irish in Lanzarote, is "the straw that broke the camel's back" for many
Leo Varadkar says nobody should enter any debate while ruling out any strategies or suggestions. Says the Govt's policy is to get numbers as low as possible by March 5 so as to allow contact tracing and testing do its job again
Marc MacSharry tells FF PP the border with Northern Ireland should be closed, and wants Ireland to approach Russia seeking to buy its Sputnik vaccine for COVID-19.
“If the Ku Klux Klan is selling a vaccine, we should buy it,” he says.
ℹ️ Marc MacSharry apologises:
💬 “As someone who conversationally uses extreme analogies at times, those who know me know precisely where I am coming from. However the reference to that organisation was wrong and I unequivocally withdrew it and apologised to all present…” (1/3)
“… and wish to do the same to all who learned of this grievous error through media leaks from the meeting. There is no excuse for the use of such an analogy …” (2/3)
Leaders' Questions: Mary Lou McDonald criticises yesterday's travel measures. "It is not a system of mandatory quarantine, it is in fact one of voluntary self-isolation." Says household isolation may mean people sharing accommodation with others who had not travelled
💬 Taoiseach: "There will be no half-measures from me, as Taoiseach, or from Government in ensuring a prolonged suppression of this virus. We will do whatever it takes to keep the numbers down, once we get the numbers down. And we are achieving that."
Taoiseach with a warning to lobbyists and his own backbenchers: 'I don't really want people coming tome again after the 5th of March pleading for one sector or another… we've simply had too much of that'