Ministers Praise Amazing Response of Local Industry

Date published: 27 March 2020

Health Minister, Robin Swann, Finance Minister, Conor Murphy and Economy Minister, Diane Dodds today praised the amazing response from local companies to the government’s request for help in sourcing critical items such as ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitisers and other items to help the fight against the Covid-19 virus.

Covid-19 March 2020

Health Minister, Robin Swann said: “As we all prepare ourselves for a critical phase in the battle to save lives all parts of society have a part to play and it has been heartening indeed to see industry stepping up in the way they are. Nearly 100 local companies have come forward offering their skills and expertise to assist the effort to provide those on the front line with the precious resources that they need.”

Over 30 responses have come from companies who will be involved in the UK wide push to produce Rapid Manufactured Ventilator Systems (RMVS). These companies will join consortiums from across the UK with a view to producing a prototype that can be scaled up to the thousands within the next few weeks. 20,000 units will be manufactured and bought by NHS England and allocated to each region including Northern Ireland.

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said: “It is vital that we protect frontline public health workers. I want to put on record my thanks to all public sector workers who have continued to provide vital public services in challenging circumstances. I commend the procurement teams across the public sector who have been working hard locally, nationally and internationally on supply chains so we can access essential supplies.”

A further 40 plus companies volunteered to assist in providing support to produce various PPE requirements. A cross government PPE Group has been established which will:

  • Provide oversight of orders placed with suppliers and completion of these orders
  • Look to expand the number of suppliers to government
  • Provide updates to the Executive on PPE

Economy Minister, Diane Dodds said: “In the face of huge challenges, local business is doing what local business does – stepping up and innovating. More than 40 companies have volunteered to assist in providing support to produce various PPE requirements. These include companies that have offered help to provide hand sanitiser, those such as O’Neills in Strabane who have already begun the manufacture of clinical scrubs, and companies that will provide a range of other PPE equipment.

 “Invest Northern Ireland is providing valuable input to the process and I am hugely grateful for everyone’s efforts at this difficult time. The local business community is doing us proud and I want to thank them for all of their efforts to help now and in the future.”

If any businesses feel they are in a position to safely provide some of the necessary products please email:

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0636 or by email. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.
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