Irish Minister says trying to understand Brexiteers ’causes angst’

The Irish Minister for Health has said trying to understand Brexiteers would cause him “pain and angst” after one MP alleged Ireland would face medicine shortages in a no-deal Brexit.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans stated on LBC Radio last week that while speaking with Brexit secretary Steve Barclay about planning for no-deal, that Ireland could face scarcities for certain drugs.

During a conversation about medicine shortages in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Evans alleges Mr Barclay told him: “Two-thirds of the medicines Ireland gets come through the UK. If there are shortages in the UK, there’ll be shortages in Ireland.”

Conservative MP Nigel Evans (Victoria Jones/PA)

Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris has denounced the statement as untrue, and says he is at a loss as to why the MP for the Ribble Valley would say it publicly.

“For me to try and get inside the mind of any Brexiteer would cause me a lot of pain and angst, so I don’t intend to do that,” Mr Harris said on Monday.

“What I do intend to do is my job as Health Minister, is to make sure we work with industry, with the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA,) with the Health Service Executive (HSE), and with my department to make sure that medical supplies are available in our country.

“I chaired a round table meeting for about three hours last week with all the various stakeholders, the pharmaceutical industry, wholesaling providers, The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, and I’m satisfied good work is being done, that medical supplies will continue in our country even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“It’s important to say that sometimes there can be medicine shortages anyway in our country, but as of today the HPRA is not aware of any medicine shortage linked to Brexit.

“We are now completing another preparedness exercise, we’ve written to all companies asking them to complete another survey on their preparedness for October 31st and that data will be analysed.

“This is a source of ongoing monitoring, a huge amount of time is being put in and huge amount of collaborating between ministers, so I’m very satisfied with the level of work being done.

“What Irish companies have been doing is working on finding alternative pathways and supply routes for quite a period of time, and I would encourage Irish people to take their advice and their guidance from our health service rather than Brexiteers.”

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