Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be giving out surplus vaccines until the British population is vaccinated first.
Speaking to RTÉ today, the Taoiseach addressed the possibility of Ireland receiving some of the UK’s extra vaccines.
“In relation to the United Kingdom, the British Prime Minister has made it clear to me that obviously his first priority is to vaccinate his people,” he said.
“He obviously will be very helpful to Ireland if the situation arose. But right now he has to concentrate on vaccinating his own people.
“And until then he won’t be in a position to give vaccines to anybody and he’s made that point to me which I think was fairly obvious from the outset in any event.”
Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness spoke about this further, saying that the government should reach out to countries aside from the UK as well.
“Why not ask the American sources? Why not ask other sources in Europe? This is not just down to Boris Johnson,” he told RTÉ Radio One.
“We don’t get the vaccine. I’ve heard the Taoiseach and the minister say it various times that we don’t have the vaccine.
“If I’m to protect five million people, I won’t mind going outside of the rules of that club [the EU], and others have gone outside it, and there is vaccine available, and we do need to reach out to our friends.”
There have been previous calls for the UK to share any extra vaccines with Ireland, with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald saying in February that any excess should be used to help both Ireland and the global community.
“I would like to see not just between Ireland and Britain, but globally, a real sense of generosity and solidarity when it comes to vaccination because we need to ensure there is not a reservoir of this virus anywhere,” she told Sky News.
“This is a race against this virus and death. So yes, I think a spirit of fairness and generosity needs to prevail.”
“The virus doesn’t care about politics, or borders, or any of these things. We all share the same human biology.”
The British government has ordered over 400m vaccines for a nation of 66.5m people. At the G7 meeting late last month, Mr Johnson pledged to support poorer nations by supplying any extra vaccines they may have.
“There is no point in us vaccinating our individual populations - we've got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic and it's no use one country being far ahead of another, we've got to move together,” he said.
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