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06 Dec 2021

Clarity on free antigen tests for Oireachtas staff released after heated clash in Dáil

Clarity on free antigen tests for Oireachtas staff released after heated clash in Dáil

Clarity on free antigen tests for Oireachtas staff released after heated clash in Dáil

Clarity on free antigen tests for Oireachtas staff has been released on social media after a heated clash in the Dáil today. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Houses of the Oireachtas service confirmed TDs and Senators will not receive free antigen tests. 

There was confusion on the matter earlier today after a Dáil business committee was told the tests would be made available to Oireachtas staff at no cost. 

This was interpreted to mean TDs and Senators could avail of free tests as well. 

In a tweet, the Houses of the Oireachtas stated, "The antigen tests will not be free to TDs and Senators. As an employer, the Houses of the Oireachtas Service is making tests available free of charge to its staff who have to be on site. This is part of our continued efforts to keep the Parliamentary Community and Workplace safe." 

The statement was released shortly after a heated exchange in the Dáil between Dublin Central TD, Deputy Gary Gannon, and Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó'Fearghaíl. 

Deputy Gannon expressed frustration that politicians may get tests for free when ordinary members of the public - many suffering from poverty - would not. 

He brought up comments made by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, on Morning Ireland yesterday, where the minister confirmed school children will receive free tests while the cost for everyone else will be subsidised. 

However, he warned of the large cost this would incur to the tune of several hundred million euro. 

Minister Donnelly also stated, "If you subsidise an antigen test, it's money you’re not spending on a nurse", for which he was criticised for by Deputy Gannon. 

The Ceann Comhairle told Deputy Gannon to get his facts correct and accused him of "telling the people something that's completely incorrect". 

Due to the confusion, the Houses of the Oireachtas released their statement clarifying the matter. 

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