10.8m facemasks, 28.4m gloves: Gardaí spend almost €13m on Covid-19 equipment

A Garda Checkpoint at the Longmile Road Dublin this morning. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

A spend by Gardaí on 10.8 million face masks and on 28.4 million gloves has contributed to a Covid-19 spend of almost €13m by the force to date this year.

New figures released by the Gardaí in response to a Freedom of Information request show that the total Garda expenditure to date on equipment in response to the Covid-19 pandemic stands at €12.94m.

The information provided shows that the Gardaí has also purchased 6.29m alcohol free wipes, 66,320 face shields, 51,749 goggles, 11,200 spit masks, 10,000 disposable gowns, 10,000 disposable aprons and 40,598 shoe covers.

The Gardaí have also purchased 61,374 white suits, 97,180 sanitisers, 71,983 bottles and 500 laser thermometers.

A number of Irish-based companies have benefited from the Garda spend including Co Mayo company, Portwest, Critical Healthcare Ltd, Cadmar Tech and MA Healy & Sons Ltd.

The Garda FOI unit declined to state how much was paid to each company for the equipment provided as “the release of the details involved could prejudice the competitive position of the companies named…as it is commercially sensitive due to the fact that it exposes the fee structure of these companies”.

The FOI also stated that the placing of these pricing structures into the public domain could also reasonably be expected to give a competitive advantage to other companies seeking similar contracts with public bodies”.

HSE spending

Separately, the HSE has stated that it has spent €1.96m on Covid-19 related advertising since March and has received free or gifted advertising value estimated to around €1.3m in addition to the €1.96m.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the HSE confirmed that it has benefited from free advertising credit from Google of a pay per click allowance of €500,000 used on ‘Search and Youtube’ and €44,000 from Facebook to date.

The breakdown of the HSE advertising spend shows that almost half of the Covid-19 advertising spend was spent on TV and Audio Visual (AV) totalling €884,000 paid to RTÉ, Virgin Media, Sky Media and the Channel Group.

The HSE spent an additional €481,000 on radio while €297,000 was spent on digital/social and the spend included online editions of newspapers The Irish Times, Irish Independent, the Irish Examiner and websites for RTÉ, The Journal, Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

The spend was also made up of €108,000 on ‘out of home’ advertising and this was spent on Adshel sites and commercial and retail sites nationwide.

A further €197,000 was spent on print editions of national and local newspapers.

The HSE FOI unit stated: “The HSE would expect that ongoing investment in media messages will be needed for the duration of the pandemic response, but decisions will be based on the changing messages and circumstances within the health service, the overall national response and the public’s information needs and feedback."