A planned Cabinet memo on subsidising the cost of antigen tests has been delayed.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly was due to bring the proposals to his Government colleagues this morning.
The details of the deal to subsidise the cost of antigen tests were close to being finalised yesterday evening.
It had been intended to start the roll-out in pharmacies, with the Government rebating a portion of the cost to reduce the price of an antigen test to two or three euro.
Understand the memo on subsidised antigen testing not now going to cabinet this morning. Details still being worked on. Plan was to subsidise them in pharmacies, reducing cost to €2-3 each.
I’m told delay is to allow engagement with other retailers on providing them
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 23, 2021
Part of the thinking being pharmacies could provide proper advice on how to use the antigen tests, a concern raised repeatedly by NPHET and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
However, Minister Stephen Donnelly won't now bring the memo to Cabinet this morning.
It's understood the delay is to allow more engagement with retailers about bringing them into the subsidisation from the start.
No new date for the memo, and the start of the lower prices, has been confirmed - though it's expected to come later this week or early next week.
Sinn Fein have says the Government's poor planning is to blame for the delay.
The party's Health Spokesperson David Cullinane said the government "still haven't figured out how they will use it or how they will subsidise it".
"At a time when people are being asked to do more and make more sacrifices, the very least the public expect is that the government will have done their end right and done their planning."
Ministers will meet this morning ahead of NPHET's meeting on Thursday.