Ireland’s Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Junior Minister Sean Sherlock have rejected the suggestion that Irish troops be sent to Sierra Leone to help with the Ebola crisis.
The Irish Independent reports that Defense Minister Simon Coveney raised the possibility of Irish troops going to Africa in response to the plea for international assistance by the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon.
Although the defense forces say the military has undergone advanced training and have the equipment to deal with various types of contamination, Sherlock and Varadkar “vociferously opposed” suggestions of an army mission at a Government Emergency Planning Committee meeting last week.
"Sean Sherlock said the plan was a non-runner. He suggested the chaotic state of Sierra Leone meant the health of Irish soldiers could not be guaranteed," a source told the Irish Independent.
Frontline medical staff do not believe the Irish health system could not cope with an outbreak of the deadly virus.
"We have an overcrowded and over-capacity hospital system as it stands," said Phil Ní Sheaghdha of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has said that Ireland’s Health Services (HSE) needs to do more than "simply issue guidelines.”
The HSE says preparedness plans are underway and that Ireland’s National Virus Laboratory is “fully equipped to diagnose Ebola.”