Skip to main content
Normal View

Covid-19 Tests

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (470, 471, 484, 490, 491)

Seán Canney

Question:

470. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if he will reconsider the exclusion of students in private higher education sector from the decision to fund rapid antigen tests for students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61664/21]

View answer

Paul Donnelly

Question:

471. Deputy Paul Donnelly asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the reason students in institutions (details supplied) are to be excluded from the public health free rapid antigen tests. [61969/21]

View answer

Mick Barry

Question:

484. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science his views on providing an antigen testing scheme to all third-level institutions including the private higher education sector which would allow for all students who wish to avail of tests free at the point of use given the large numbers of students in many of those colleges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61717/21]

View answer

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

490. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if consideration will be given to extending rapid antigen testing to private third-level colleges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61847/21]

View answer

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Question:

491. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the estimated cost of extending rapid antigen testing to private third-level colleges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61848/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 470, 471, 484, 490 and 491 together.

The intention of Government is to strengthen the prevention and intervention measures around COVID-19 in response to the changing context. My Department recognises the potential role of rapid antigen testing as one part of a package of surveillance and vigilance measures including self-monitoring and other public health measures.

Following public health advice to the sector from the Expert Advisory Group on Rapid Testing, advice which is published and available on the Department’s website, a once-off fund of €9m to provide rapid antigen testing kits to students in further and higher education has been announced by my Department.

The purpose of the fund is to encourage the use of antigen testing amongst students and will involve:

- Providing funding to institutions via the funding agencies to make a small number of antigen tests available free to students

- Respecting the autonomy and flexibility of institutions in deciding at institutional level how best to provide these tests to students as soon as practicable

- Developing a communications campaign for students to increase the awareness of rapid antigen testing and their appropriate use.

The fund will be made available to further and higher education institutions through SOLAS and HEA, including to the private institutions represented by HECA, with approximately 20,000 students, to ensure that we promote the use of antigen testing amongst young people.

In terms of costs, at this time it is not possible to provide information in relation to allocations that will be paid to individual institutions or bodies at this time as the process to determine and allocate funds is ongoing. It is the intention that the funding allocation for HECA colleges will be aligned with the allocations to publicly funded providers and from within the ring-fenced allocation for antigen testing as part of the Department’s 2021 Covid allocation.

In addition to this once-off specific fund, the UniCov study continues in a number of universities.

Question No. 471 answered with Question No. 470.
Top
Share