Leinster House briefing paper warned of risk of TDs and Senators “stockpiling” antigen tests if made available for free

A Leinster House briefing paper flagged the risk politicians might “stockpile” antigen tests if they were made available for free to TDs and Senators.

It also warned that members of the Oireachtas were among the most vulnerable to Covid infection because of their high “number of interactions” with other people and challenges with social distancing.

A discussion paper said that antigen tests could be made available for free to TDs and Senators but that it could lead to an “excessive, and more importantly, unnecessary use of the tests”.

The paper also warned of the risks of making tests – which were expected to cost €2.60 (exclusive of VAT each – available without charging.

It said: “While unlikely, there is also the potential that providing test kits on request could lead to ‘stockpiling’ from members of the parliamentary community taking advantage of the availability of free kits.”

The discussion paper makes clear that discussion had included the possibility of providing the tests for free to politicians.

It said: “The Service can currently obtain test kits – the best quote obtained so far is €2.60 + VAT per kit. It is proposed that this cost will be met by the Commission.”