Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has called on the Minister for Health and Minister for Agriculture to empower pharmacies to prepare hand sanitiser in-house.

Deputy Mac Sharry explained, “There is a national shortage of hand sanitiser at present in our healthcare facilities, nursing homes, residential units and other critical care areas. We all know the importance of good hand hygiene in tackling the spread of coronavirus but with limited hand sanitiser in the country this can be difficult.

“While awaiting deliveries of hand sanitiser from abroad we must acknowledge that pharmacies nationwide have the capability, ingredients, and the will to manufacture hand sanitiser in-house but due to current regulations they are not allowed to produce this product.

“The matter has been raised by my Fianna Fáil colleagues and I more than two weeks ago with the Minister for Health and the HSE but nothing has changed.

“I understand the Department of Agriculture has a role in providing permission for this to take place and it now should be made a priority. We have seen numerous distilleries across the country up tools to create hand sanitiser. During this national emergency every effort should be made to produce this key substance in the fight against coronavirus.

“Pharmacists are healthcare professionals with the know-how and capability to manufacture and provide hand sanitiser to World Health Organisation specifications and standards. There should be no more delay from either Ministers or their Departments in changing the rules to allow this to proceed,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.