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Ireland has not used island ‘advantage’ during pandemic- Prof Glynn

Ireland has not taken advantage of its position as an island during the pandemic,  Prof Liam Glynn, Professor of General Practice, School of Medicine, University of Limerick (UL) has told this newspaper.

Prof Glynn, who is also a GP in Co Clare, will speak at the 17th National Health Summit on the topic of the health system’s response to the pandemic and what it faces in the future. The virtual summit takes place on Wednesday 10 February (https://healthsummit.ie/).

In an interview with the Medical Independent (MI), Prof Glynn praised the communication strategy of the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and the public health system during the pandemic.

However, he reflected the concerns of many regarding travel in and out of the country.

“I think the border is a huge issue,” he told MI. “We have this advantage of being an island, but we have not used it like a lot of other island nations (have).”

Prof Glynn highlighted the progress that has been made by jurisdictions such as Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

“I’m not saying you can do a direct comparison, but when you look at their approaches to people coming into their country, it has been totally different (to Ireland), and they have had a really good level of control over people coming in and out,” he said. 

“Of course, it is complicated by our border with Northern Ireland, but that wasn’t a complication for the foot and mouth disease outbreak and there was an island approach on that occasion. So surely we could get this right…but it is something that we just haven’t done.”

*Full interview in the next edition of the Medical Independent

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