There is no rationale for making antigen tests free in all circumstances – with most people already able to afford them, according to the Finance Minister.
Paschal Donohoe was speaking as the Government considers what level of subsidy to introduce for the tests, which can cost upwards of €7 in shops and pharmacies.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, he said the HSE was already sending free antigen tests to close contacts – with the new system for primary schools due to be up and running by the end of the month.
He said many companies were also making them free to their staff.
“I am not sure there is a rationale for making them free in all circumstances,” he said.
“There is ultimately a cost involved in doing this and actually a Government doesn’t have any money of its own.
“The only money a Government has is the money we either collect in taxes, which is your listeners’ money, or money we borrow – which your listeners will be paying for tomorrow.
“I think I have to be aware of that in the decisions that we make. What we are doing is, in those circumstances where they are needed for clearly defined medical reasons, they are available free.”
"I, at this point wouldn’t support making them free.” Minister Paschal Donohoe explains to @kierancuddihy why he feels there is 'no rationale' for making antigen tests free to the public. @TheHardShoulder pic.twitter.com/VbtewDPfaw
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) November 18, 2021