Alan Kelly accuses Stephen Donnelly of "incompetence" in heated Dáil row over vaccines
"This isn't about having confidence in you, this is about incompetence."
Labour leader Alan Kelly accused Health Minister Stephen Donnelly of "incompetence" during a heated row in the Dáil on Thursday in relation to transparency in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
Previous to this, Sinn Féin's David Cullinane asked the Minister multiple times how many vaccine doses are to arrive in Ireland in April.
Donnelly was reluctant to give exact figures, stating: "For April, May and June - according to expected deliveries - we are expecting in excess of an average of a million to arrive in a month.
"As we've said before, I am reluctant to give specific forecast figures that we all know are going to change.
"Giving very specific amounts that we know are going to change has caused a lot of anxiety.
"It is approximately a million doses that we are expecting in April.
"The expected supply is slightly less than a million doses to be received in April."
Cullinane, in response, pointed out that the Taoiseach on Wednesday had given the more precise figure of 860,000 and said differing reports on the matter were causing confusion.
He said: "People need to know exactly what the figure is or at least what the estimated figure is.
"If it changes, it changes... But people have a right to know it."
Minutes later, Kelly told the Dáil that he had requested information from the Minister regarding the number of vaccine deliveries to arrive in the last week of March and the first week of April.
He explained Donnelly had said he would get him a note on the topic, which Kelly claimed was never delivered despite two reminders.
Kelly then said to Donnelly: "What's the point of you even coming in here?
"You're the Minister for Health, you report to this Dáil... This whole charade is a waste of time if you're not actually going to answer questions."
He added: "What you said to the previous deputy in relation to figures is rubbish.
"Transparency is your friend here. Giving out the estimates is what you should be doing.
"The fact that you come in here into the Dáil and say that you don't want to give it out isn't acceptable. The Taoiseach went further than you yesterday.
"What the hell is going on here?
"This isn't about having confidence in you, this is about incompetence.
"This is not fair, this is not right and the people of Ireland are being let down. This is incompetent."
Only given a few seconds to respond, Donnelly said: "You've made some accusations which obviously are your right to make.
"But you've left me 10 seconds to respond. I can respond to all of these."
Donnelly then said he had the note Kelly had requested with him, which included the most detailed figures he could give.
As of last Sunday, 28 March, there have been 806,541 doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in Ireland.
580,857 people have received their first dose and 225,684 people have received their second dose.