Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Stephen Donnelly has said the Department of Health must ensure that there are sufficient supplies of hand sanitiser for organisations and businesses as they reopen through each of the phases.

Deputy Donnelly said the Government can’t allow past mistakes to be repeated as the restrictions are lifted and urged them to put plans in place which would negate any stockpiling and price gouging which happened at the outset of the pandemic.

He explained, “As we emerge from lockdown individual actions to control the spread and possible second wave of COVID-19 will be essential. A vital part of this will be washing hands and using sanitiser. Businesses, organisations, clubs, recreational facilities, all destinations which people attend, will have to be able to provide sanitiser.

“When the pandemic first began, we actually had instances of hand sanitiser being stolen from hospitals as well as supplies being hoarded by some people and chemists charging way over the odds for it.

“The provision of disinfectant supplies and personal protective equipment overall has been disastrous in places and has clearly exacerbated a very serious situation so we need to get the distribution of hand sanitiser right.

“A number of whiskey and gin distilleries across Ireland are now producing alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel. A national ‘stock-take’ should be done to ascertain whether we have enough in reserve.

“If we’re going to get used to living with this virus, without a vaccine, we’re going to need to take measures to protect ourselves. The Government will have to ensure that all appropriate destinations make sanitiser available,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.