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03/08/2021

Explanation sought over closure of Limerick vaccination centre to facilitate horse racing

Explanation sought over closure of Limerick vaccination centre to facilitate horse racing

One of the Covid-19 vaccination bays at Limerick Racecourse

THE Minister of Health and the Health Service Executive have been asked to explain the closure of the Limerick vaccination centre this weekend to facilitate a horse race meeting.

As first reported by Live 95, Limerick Racecourse has confirmed the vaccination centre will not be operating this Saturday due to a scheduled flat meeting at the Patrickswell venue which begins at 3pm.

A number of other race meetings are scheduled for later this month and in July.

The vaccination centre at Limerick Racecourse opened on Tuesday morning after the previous centre at the Radisson Blu Hotel was decommissioned over the bank holiday weekend.

In a statement, issued this lunchtime, Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan said answers are needed urgently.

“This is just incredible. We are in the middle of a public health emergency, there has been a spike in Covid cases in Limerick over the last few weeks, yet we are closing our vaccine centre," he said.

"It is farcical in the extreme that this vaccine centre will be closed to facilitate a horse meeting. The public take up on vaccinations has been excellent. But this closure creates the impression that public health falls second to commercial activity. It is an affront to the people of Limerick that this commercial activity would trump the vaccination program at a time when we have seen a worrying rise of Covid numbers in Limerick," he added.

  

Green Party TD Brian Leddin has also criticised the decision to close the vaccination centre- describing it as unacceptable.

“This is the latest misstep in the planning of the vaccination programme in Limerick. I am hesitant to speak out as I do not want to undermine the work of our public health professionals, but the idea of our vaccination centre being closed to facilitate horse racing will cause considerable dismay in the community. I can only assume this is a contractual obligation, and if it is so then it should have been clearly signalled in advance," he said.

UL Hospitals has been contacted for comment and a statement is expected later this Friday.

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