The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Michael McGrath T.D. and the Minister for Health, Mr. Stephen Donnelly, T.D. welcomed the funding provided by the European Commission of €311m for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They also acknowledged the collective efforts undertaken by the Regional Assemblies and the staff of the Health Service Executive (HSE) to assist with the reprogramming of European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) support to address the urgent and exceptional challenges posed by Covid-19 to health care provisions in all regions of the country.
Ireland has today submitted a second claim to the EU Commission for support towards the costs incurred during 2020 in the purchase of PPE supplies for the Irish healthcare system, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings to €311m the support provided under the ERDF Programmes in Ireland to the HSE for PPE.
Availing of flexibility measures introduced at EU level, Ireland’s two ERDF Programmes responded by setting up the Health Support Scheme, which has directed €311m of much needed resources towards the HSE’s efforts to procure the supply of PPE for front line health care workers in Ireland.
Minister Michael McGrath said:
“In response to the Covid-19 crisis, one of the measures the EU put in place was to enable Member States to reallocate EU Funds to fight the pandemic. This flexibility was matched by the efforts of staff across a range of different public bodies to ensure that the funds could be used to source PPE, and deliver it to where it was needed, across every region of Ireland. Securing the supply of the PPE for Ireland at the height of a global pandemic represented an unprecedented logistical exercise for the staff involved.
“I want to acknowledge the personnel in the HSE who collaborated closely with the staff of the Southern Regional Assembly, the Northern & Western Regional Assembly, my Department, the Department of Health and colleagues from the EU Commission on the development and roll out of the EU Funded Health Support Scheme.”
Minister Stephen Donnelly said:
“I want to express my appreciation to the staff of HSE Health Business Services who rose to the extraordinary challenge to ensure the supply of PPE in Ireland in the midst of unprecedented global demand during the pandemic. The procurement of PPE in highly competitive and volatile circumstances was, and remains, critical to protect our healthcare workers.
“The financial support for PPE mobilised through the ERDF made a very important contribution towards that. I acknowledge that support, along with the subsequent close and detailed administrative effort required to claim over €311m of the associated costs in Structural Funds from the Commission”
The funding from the ERDF Programmes was facilitated by the EU’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) Regulations to support operations and foster crisis response capacities in the context COVID-19; and Regulation 2020/558 on specific measures to provide exceptional flexibility for the use of the European Structural and Investment Funds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
These initiatives allowed for the transfer of €60m from the European Social Fund (ESF) allocation to the ERDF programmes in order to support the cost of supplying essential Personal Protective Equipment for use in the fight against COVID 19
EU funding of €310,839,246 was awarded to the HSE for the supply of COVID-19 PPE to the health service in the S&E and BMW regions. This comprised €103,030,629 from the Border, Midlands & Western (BMW) Regional ERDF Operational Programme, and €207,809,246 from the Southern & Eastern (S&E) Regional ERDF Operational Programme
The S&E Regional Operational Programme and the BMW Regional Operational Programme are managed respectively by the Southern Regional Assembly and the Northern & Western Regional Assembly and are co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.