Ministers welcome European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority board members to Dublin
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Micheál Martin and Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly have today welcomed the first in-person meeting of the Board of the European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) in Dublin. The two-day Board meeting will be jointly hosted by Chief Medical Officer Prof Breda Smyth, who is Ireland’s representative to the Board.
HERA was launched during COVID-19 as a key pillar of the European Health Union, with a mission to improve the EU’s preparedness for future health emergencies. It has launched an ambitious programme of work including: large-scale investment in research and development of innovative medical countermeasures, supporting joint procurement of medicines for EU Member States, stockpiling, and improving threat assessment and monitoring.
The HERA Board is the most senior forum for Member State engagement with the new European Commission Directorate General.
Ireland’s participation in HERA is also a key part of efforts to strengthen health emergency preparedness nationally and facilitates the Department of Health’s collaboration with EU member states.
The Tánaiste, said:
“Since its inception at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve followed the development of the HERA closely. When I spoke to President Ursula Von Der Leyen during her bilateral visit to Ireland in 2020, we agreed that development of the EU’s emergency preparedness and response capability would be critical to strengthening our preparedness for future health emergencies and building on the lessons of COVID-19. I am delighted that Ireland has been invited to host this first in-person meeting of the HERA Board.”
Minister Donnelly, said:
“My department is honoured to host the first meeting of the HERA Board, which reflects Ireland’s strong commitment over recent years to the development of the European Health Union. Not only is the work of HERA strengthening European coordination on health emergency preparedness, but the discussions over these two days will play an important role in strengthening Ireland’s own preparedness for urgent challenges including Avian Influenza, medicines availability, investing in innovation to tackle anti-microbial resistance, and developing a coordinated European approach to stockpiling of medical countermeasures. These meetings are vital in our ongoing efforts to learn from and implement the lessons from the European response to COVID-19.”
Chief Medical Officer, Prof Breda Smyth, said:
“As Ireland’s representative to the HERA Board, I have seen the many benefits of this European health emergency collaboration to date. HERA has played a vital role in securing vaccines and therapeutics for mpox, in addressing the threat of Avian influenza, and building capacity to rapidly scale up production of vaccines in future health emergencies. COVID-19 highlighted the many benefits of European collaboration in the field of public health emergency response. The continued strengthening of this collaboration will be key to our future preparedness”.
Director General of HERA, Pierre Delsaux, said:
“Close collaboration between HERA and Member States is vital to ensure that we are all better prepared to fight future health threats. Ireland’s support has been excellent since HERA’s inception, and I am delighted to be here in Dublin for our HERA Board meeting to continue our work together on making Europe more resilient against the next health threats.”
Greeting delegates, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Seán Fleming, said:
“I am delighted to welcome delegates to Dublin for this important, first ever in person Board meeting of HERA. Today is an important milestone for health preparedness for the EU, as well as an important deepening of Ireland’s work with the European Commission and a significant step in Ireland’s preparations for our Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2026.”
*Imagery will be issued to picture desks this evening.
Notes to editor:
HERA was established in 2021 as a new Directorate-General within the European Commission tasked with the critical role of strengthening Europe’s preparedness for future health emergency preparedness.
The HERA Board is the most senior forum for Member State engagement with the new European Commission Directorate General (the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, DG-HERA).
Ireland has been invited to host the first in-person meeting of the HERA Board. The Department of Health sees this as an important reflection of the high-level of engagement between Ireland and DG HERA to date.
The Board meeting takes place on 27 and 28 September and is being jointly hosted by HERA and Chief Medical Officer Prof. Breda Smyth who is Ireland’s representative to the Board.
As well as Member States representatives – the HERA delegation will include senior representatives from the Commission (including HERA as well as Commission bodies responsible for research and industrial engagement) EU Health Agencies (the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Control) and third countries with observer status (Norway and Iceland).