Connemara residents are warning that the lack of a nearby vaccination centre could see people deciding to put off their appointments.
Earlier this week, the Government published a list of 37 mass vaccination centres to be established around the country.
Five centres will be set up in the Taoiseach’s home county of Cork, with four in Dublin and two in the Health Minister’s home county of Wicklow.
Under the current plans however, there will be only one centre in Galway – the second largest county in Ireland.
In the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said further centres will be added to the list in the coming weeks - and noted that vaccines will also be administered through local GPs.
One resident told Barry that he can’t see the sense in bringing people from rural areas to centralised vaccine stations
“You could send mobile units to a place like Clifden and get the whole area done in a matter of days,” he said.
“The logistics of making everybody go to one place just doesn’t make sense to me. It is going to take forever.
“If I have to drive to Galway to get a vaccine, I am more likely to put it off than if I just have to come to the local car park. You could get the whole town done in a day and the rest of the area done in about two days.”
"Capital of Connemara"
He said Clifden is “considered the capital of Connemara” and should have been considered for a centre.
“It is the market town for probably some 15 other communities and it would just make a lot of sense to have a vaccine centre here – especially in terms of efficiency and the fact it takes at least an hour and 15 minutes just to get to Galway, let alone getting wherever you are going in Galway city,” he said.
“I hardly ever go into Galway city. There is no need to leave Clifden for the most part. Unless you are looking for an overnight and a night out, there is no need to leave here.”
Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell said the decision to offer Galway a single centre is “concerning” – with a number of areas a three-hour round trip from the city.
“We need to ensure vaccines are delivered as localised as possible and that people are able to get it in their local areas – especially those living in more isolated and rural areas where the reality is public transport will not get them there,” she said.
She said people living on islands off the west coast could face a particularly daunting journey.
“The reality is that people living on the islands should not be forced to get a ferry and then a bus and then another bus to get a vaccine,” she said.
“We need to ensure that people who live on our offshore islands are able to access the vaccine in their local area.”
As of Sunday, a total of 271,942 vaccine doses had been administered around the country.
Some 91,750 people are now fully vaccinated, with 180,1932 people having received their first dose.
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