THE Lord Mayor of Cork has written to the justice minister to highlight his concerns in relation to the vaccination of members of An Garda Síochána.
Councillor Joe Kavanagh said he has written to Helen McEntee outlining the need for gardaí to receive Covid-19 vaccinations.
Speaking to The Echo, he expressed his “concern for the gardaí” and hopes “that they will be prioritised at the earliest possible time in terms of vaccination”.
“I’ve been shouting about the gardaí getting vaccinated for the last month or so. They’re the most frontline service we have and we really need them out there on the frontline in these difficult times,” he said.
“They don’t know from minute to minute what they’re going to face and what they’re coming into contact with and they’re operational 24/7 protecting you and me and they deserve the protection so that they can do their job effectively. It is of critical importance."
Earlier this week, the health minister announced changes to Ireland’s vaccination prioritisation list, which focused on an age-based approach.
However, Mr Kavanagh said that he does not understand why gardaí are “so far down the pecking order”.
“To be honest, I’m very confused,” he said. “I wish somebody would explain to me why the gardaí are so far down the pecking order.”
He said he would like to see them vaccinated after frontline medical staff, healthcare workers, and those who are vulnerable and at risk.
Mr Kavanagh previously called for gardaí to be moved up the list and he has now reiterated his call.
“The gardaí are the most frontline organisation we have in society. We really do need to protect them, and I really feel that they should be vaccinated as a matter of priority.
“The gardaí, in fairness, are out there 24/7. As a society, we owe them. We really do owe them the respect and we owe them the vaccination,” he added.