Covid App Costing Public £440k a Month - Doyle
Aontú Cllr for Ballyarnett on Derry City & Strabane District Council, Emmet Doyle, has expressed outrage that the Department of Health is still spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a Covid Passport app when it hasn’t been required for over a year - whilst frontline health services are under pressure
The Covid Vaccination Passport was made mandatory by the then Executive for only 45 days between December 2020 and January 2021 but has cost over £20m and is still costing taxpayers a significant amount of money.
“In December of last year I was contacted by a number of constituents who received a notification from their dormant Covid-19 app informing them that a renewed certificate has been downloaded for them. Many expressed surprise that this scheme was still running given the Executive scrapped it as a requirement over a year ago.
I contacted the Department of Health to seek an explanation. I was shocked to learn that the Covid Passport (officially named the Covid Certification Scheme) was not only still running, but was costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds to administer.
This scheme has cost £20.5m up to December 2022. Each month of the financial year 2022/23 the Department spent £440k on it.
At a time when GP surgeries are handing back their contracts and when A&E’s are under constant pressure, the Department has no reason to be spending money on a provision that lasted only 45 days and is not required when travelling in most parts of the world today – and not in the EU at all.
Domestic passports, championed by the SDLP were such a failure that they weren’t even legally required for a whole two months, after having failed to contain the virus in the South and in many other jurisdictions.
Aontú were the only party on the island to absolutely oppose these measures as their introduction in the south had proved a failure and they were proof only of vaccination status, not a current Covid status.
Serious questions now need to be asked about this spending."