Eamon Ryan says he followed health guidelines at all times over Covid test results

Eamon Ryan says he followed health guidelines at all times over Covid test results
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan attended the Cop26 conference in Glasgow on Monday (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Environment Minister said he followed health guidelines at all times after receiving different results in two tests for Covid.


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Eamon Ryan added that he was conscious of the perception that different rules applied for ministers after he attended the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow on Monday.

On Saturday, the Green Party leader announced that he had cancelled his visit to Glasgow after testing positive for coronavirus, but on Sunday he said a second test had a returned a negative result and indicated he would make the trip.

Speaking to the media in Glasgow, Mr Ryan said he took the first test on Friday.

He added: “It was standard enough. On Saturday I got the text saying you are positive. I went home and followed all the protocols.

“The main thing I had to work out was my contact tracing. I contacted the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste.

“After that, the HSE contacted my private secretary. The details of the first test had been inconclusive, even in those circumstances you get a positive reading.

“It is standard to have a second test, particularly in circumstances where you weren’t symptomatic and you were just doing the test as part of a routine travel arrangement.

“So I did a test that evening and the next morning it came back negative.

“I followed medical advice right the way through. I didn’t have to isolate. Had I ignored that advice I would have been going against the health advice. The health advice was go about your business as normal. That is what I did.”

Asked if he was aware of the perception that there was one rule for Government figures and another for other people, he said: “I am very conscious of that. But the only thing I could do was follow the health advice, follow the protocols, do what I was told by the HSE.

“I kept in touch with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and followed the protocols. Then I said why should I not travel? I would not be taking the advice from the HSE.”

Earlier, the HSE has said repeat PCR tests may be recommended on a positive result “in certain instances” following confusion among the public over Mr Ryan’s Covid-status.

A HSE spokeswoman said on Monday: “In certain instances, where clinically indicated, a repeat test may be recommended for an individual.” She said this is “typically based” on a discussion between the testing laboratory and the person requesting the test.

She said it "takes into account a number of factors, such as the laboratory result itself, including viral targets detected etc., the reason for the test, and the condition of the person having the test performed,” she said.

The spokeswoman said a repeat test can be scheduled through the HSE Testing and Trace programme, with a review of the results informing the guidance for that individual.

However this advice does not seem to be on the HSE website for the general public. This advises people with a positive result to self-isolate and begin the contract tracing process.

It appears from the website that only people whose result was “indeterminate, invalid or inhibitory result” are advised to get a second test to confirm their infection status.

Meanwhile, Mr Ryan said he believed the Cop26 conference was about creating “momentum for action”.

He said: “John Kerry (the US climate envoy) said today that this is the week that decides the decade – I thought that was putting it well.

“My sense is that last week went reasonably well, in terms of some of the methane pledge and the deforestation pledge.

“I think this Cop is about creating momentum for action and creating transparency and urgency for action.”

Mr Ryan said that Ireland will commit €10m in the next year to the International Adaption Fund.

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