Cork City Hall and Páirc Uí Chaoimh being considered as mass vaccination centres

Cork City Hall and Páirc Uí Chaoimh being considered as mass vaccination centres

Páirc Uí Chaoimh GAA stadium on Cork's Marina is being considered by the HSE as a venue for mass vaccinations. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork City Hall and Páirc Uí Chaoimh are being considered by the HSE as the sites for mass vaccination centres in County Cork.

However local TDs have described the placing of the centres only in the city as “unacceptable” and demanded other areas be examined.

The mass centres are expected to be at the heart of the vaccination roll-out later in the year, with a population of 519,000 to be covered in Cork alone.

GPs and pharmacists will offer vaccinations locally, but the mass centres will be critical to reaching health minister Stephen Donnelly’s September target for completing vaccination nationally — although the Taoiseach has already admitted that may now slip to the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for Cork City Council said: “I can confirm Cork City Council has offered use of the City Hall campus facilities as a vaccination centre but the selection of hubs is a matter for HSE.

“We will facilitate in any way we can progress on the rollout of the vaccination programme.” 

Discussions about using Páirc Uí Chaoimh are in the final stages according to Munster GAA press officer Bob Ryan: 

Mr Ryan said: “The GAA policy is if there is a facility that is required by the HSE for vaccinations, the GAA would be very approachable.” 

The Dome at Semple Stadium in Thurles was considered by the HSE but rejected as a local school uses this regularly. Limerick GAA was not contacted.

The Irish Examiner understands that hotels in rural parts of Cork were also approached, but HSE enquiries died away about three weeks ago.

A spokeswoman for Cork City Council said: “I can confirm Cork City Council has offered use of the City Hall campus facilities as a vaccination centre but the selection of hubs is a matter for HSE. Picture: Larry Cummins
A spokeswoman for Cork City Council said: “I can confirm Cork City Council has offered use of the City Hall campus facilities as a vaccination centre but the selection of hubs is a matter for HSE. Picture: Larry Cummins

A HSE spokeswoman said: “Mass vaccination centres will be used when the availability of vaccines is increased. 

"A number of locations are currently under consideration and will be approved and finalised by the HSE in the coming weeks.” 

She could not say when the system will start operations as this depends on vaccine supply and workforce availability.

Labour TD for Cork East Seán Sherlock said: “We do need centres in the city but if everyone in the county has to travel to the city, many people in rural areas just won't travel.

“We need to have centres throughout the county in a number of towns that are accessible and in locations that are familiar.”

He called for the proposal to be reviewed before a final decision. “Putting all the eggs into the city basket will just discourage people from attending,” he said.

Holly Cairns, Social Democrat TD for Cork South-West raised similar concerns: “We can’t always expect people to travel to the city. And now it is not feasible to ask people to use public transport or share cars.” 

She added that there should be at least one mass centre west of the city.

West Cork residents already face a drive to Dunmanway as the closest location for Covid-19 testing.

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