Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (774, 776)

Neasa Hourigan

Question:

774. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the consideration he has given to the recommendations of the Report on the Distribution of Covid-19 Vaccines to Developing Countries produced by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence; his views on the recommendations in the report in respect of COVAX, the Covid technology access pool or C-TAP, and the potential relaxation of intellectual property rights in order to increase access to and supply of Covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15349/21]

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Thomas Pringle

Question:

776. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the consideration he has given to the recommendations of the Report on the Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines to Developing Countries that was produced by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence; if he will address the recommendations, in particular the potential relaxation of intellectual property rights in order to increase access to and supply of Covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15388/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 774 and 776 together.

I would like to thank the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence for their recent Report on the Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines to Developing Countries, whose recommendations are being considered by the relevant Government Departments.

Ireland is fully supporting efforts by the international community to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all. The Government quadrupled funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020, given its role as lead UN agency for health and co-host of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which has the COVAX facility as a centrepiece. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment leads on Intellectual Property Rights, and is giving consideration to Ireland’s potential participation in technology-pooling mechanisms such as the C-TAP initiative.

My Department continues to liaise with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment on this on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, my Department has announced €5 million in Irish Aid funding to support developing countries to access COVID-19 vaccines. Most of this funding is going through the COVAX facility, a global UN-led mechanism for pooling procurement and fair distribution of the vaccines. This is part of at least €50 million allocated by my Department to Global Health in 2021.