Limerick TD wants antigen tests freely available

Maurice Quinlivan
Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan

LIMERICK Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has called on the government to make antigen testing widely and freely available to ease the pressure on the PCR testing system, which is overwhelmed due to rampant Covid-19 transmission rates.

Deputy Quinlivan claims there are no tests available in Limerick or the surrounding counties of Clare, Kerry Cork or Tipperary. His party have repeatedly raised concerns with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, and called on him to set out a strategy to manage what has become a rapidly deteriorating situation.

“The surge in case numbers is placing unprecedented pressure on the PCR testing system. Current HSE capacity is 300,000 tests a week. That is six per cent of the population being tested every week.”

“But we are approaching, or are at, full capacity, and the system is struggling to cope with the unprecedented demands being placed upon it.”

And he wants to see a far greater emphasis on antigen testing.

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“One third of positive cases through a PCR followed a positive antigen test. That is all the more reason to see greater use of antigen testing, and for it to be made freely available. We need to utilise all tools available to us to suppress the spread of Covid-19, so it beggars belief that the government continues to dither when it comes to a public rollout of antigen testing,” the Limerick TD concluded.