Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has confronted Taoiseach Micheál Martin on the Pandemic Treaty, saying he fears the government is “ceding power” to the World Health Organisation.
The comments were made this week in the Dáil during the Order of Business.
While O’Dea claimed that Ireland’s response to the pandemic was “one of the more successful,” he raised concerns about the implications of signing up to the proposed WHO treaty.
“At present, a WHO global Pandemic Treaty is being negotiated,” said O’Dea.
“My understanding is that the states which become signatories to this treaty will be ceding power to deal with any future pandemics entirely to the WHO, and that the local government will be completely excluded from the situation.”
He continued: “This is a very significant development.
“Has the advice of the Attorney General been sought as to whether the Government signing up to this will require a constitutional referendum?”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied: “I will have to check that out in the first instance.”
He added: “In terms of a pandemic, what is required is very strong global interaction and co-ordination among all the members of the WHO, which did not quite happen at the beginning in this regard.”
According to the EU, the proposed “Pandemic Treaty” is a “legally-binding framework, aiming to ensure that the world can better respond to global health threats in the future.”
Last month, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that “Ireland strongly supports a multilateral approach to global health issues with the WHO in a central leadership role.”
“Therefore,” the Minister had said, “Ireland supports the WHO led process to negotiate a binding legal instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.”
Donnelly has refused to commit to holding a referendum on the issue.