06 Jul 2022

'The government is penny pinching:' TD joins Kildare representatives calling for changes to cost of antigen tests

'The government is penny pinching:' TD joins Kildare representatives calling for changes to cost of antigen tests

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A TD has joined a number of political representatives from County Kildare, including Senators Mark Wall (Labour) and Fiona O' Loughlin (Fianna Fáil), in calling for changes to the cost of antigen tests.

Commenting on the issue, Sinn Féin's Patricia Ryan TD said: "Antigen tests should be sent to every home, free of charge; this is being done only on request for close contacts at the moment."

"Anything that can be done to encourage the use of antigen tests must be done: they need to be made freely available so that we can find asymptomatic cases in the community."

She went on to say that the cost of these tests can be prohibitive for many households: "Especially those grappling with the surging cost of living who are already making tough choices or where someone is out of work due to the pandemic."

"The fact that the cost of individual tests has fallen in supermarkets is not a reason to forego a subsidy, and many supermarkets are regularly sold out of their stock of tests."

Ms Ryan continued: "Antigen tests must be provided as an essential public health intervention with access guaranteed by the State, not fluctuating market prices.

"They should also be freely available through early childhood education centres, schools and colleges."

She elaborated: "The Govt is penny pinching while the nation is just reaching the height of this wave of the pandemic: we have seen the same on HEPA filters for schools: this is ensuring that schools and workplaces will continue to be riskier environments than they should be."

"The rollout of free antigen tests must be accompanied by clear guidance on when and how to use them, along with wider availability of PCR testing to ensure that symptomatic people can avail of a PCR test.

"Several families have been in contact with me that have been trying to secure a PCR test since before the New Year... this is not acceptable."

"At least regular antigen tests would give these families some advice on whether they should be self-isolating," she concluded.

Last month, Patricia Ryan TD also called on the govt to implement changes regarding illness and disability payments.

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