Home » Politics » Are you watching, Boris? Austria vows to stand by Ireland ‘in face of Brexit’
Are you watching, Boris? Austria vows to stand by Ireland ‘in face of Brexit’
March 10, 2021
Vaccine: 'Extra' EU supply should come to Ireland says Murphy
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The Austrian head of state had a phone call with his Irish counterpart President Michael D Higgins on Tuesday. Mr Van Der Belle said they spoke about the future of Austria and Ireland in a stronger EU after the pandemic, adding he was sympathetic to the struggles caused by Brexit on the isle of Ireland.
He said: “Ireland may geographically be on the periphery of Europe, but in terms of integration policy it is in the heart of the European Union.”
Tweeting straight after the phone call, he said: “I talked about the current situation in Ireland & Austria & the scenarios of a post #COVID19 – reconstruction with my Irish counterpart Michael D Higgins.
“We agreed that the European Union will emerge stronger from the crisis.
“And will have to resolutely face new challenges – on the job market, in the global economy and in relation to the climate crisis.
“Austria’s solidarity is guaranteed to Ireland in the face of the effects of Brexit.”
It comes as Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin was told by Boris Johnson that the UK is not in a position to give surplus COVID-19 vaccines to Ireland.
Mr Martin said the Prime Minister’s first priority is to vaccinate people living in the UK.
Ireland is struggling to meet its vaccine targets following a number of delivery issues.
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These are affecting the Government’s vaccine programme, with question marks over its plan to roll out one million vaccines in April.
Mr Martin said he was “disappointed” with some of the issues relating to the vaccine supply.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Martin said: “The British Prime Minister has made it clear to me that obviously his first priority is to vaccinate his people.
“It would be helpful to Ireland if the situation arose, but right now he has to concentrate on vaccinating his own people.
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“Until then, he won’t be in a position to give vaccines to anybody and he has made that point to me, which I thought was fairly obvious at the outset.”
Asked about the supply, Mr Martin said: “We are disappointed with quarter one in terms of the issues, but in terms of protecting the most vulnerable, we have made progress on that and the impact of the vaccines is very positive.
“We have seen that in terms of healthcare workers, hospitals and in nursing homes in particular, and now out in the community in the over-80s. That is good news.
“We have very good vaccines that are giving protection to people as well.”
On Tuesday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said delays securing scheduled deliveries of AstraZeneca jabs were hampering efforts to roll out vaccinations.
He told RTE: “There’s no question the repeated revisions from AstraZeneca are very frustrating for Ireland and right across the EU.”
But the minister highlighted that 95 percent of jabs that were arriving in Ireland were being administered within a seven-day timeframe.
He said the evidence showed vaccines were having an “amazing effect” on infection rates among the cohorts who were receiving them.
He added: “The good news is the vaccines are incredibly effective, way beyond anything certainly anyone I’ve spoken to in the last year would have thought.
“Where they’re being deployed, they’re being deployed well and the HSE’s job essentially is to get them out to the priority groups as soon as they come into the country and while the estimated supply has come down – the figure we’ve been working to for the end of March was about 1.2 million, that looks closer to 1.1 million because of the latest revision from AstraZeneca – I think it’s important for people to know the amount of work that’s going on.
“So, believe it or not, 95 percent of the vaccines that are coming into the country are being administered to the priority groups within seven days.
“It’s not all perfect, it hasn’t all been flawless, but I think great credit goes to thousands of women and men right across Ireland who are making that possible.”