Professor Martin Cormican displaying some of the PPE equipment sourced from China, Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
helping hand

Cork fabric company to alter some of HSE's shipment of personal protective equipment to make it suitable for use

Much of the equipment which arrived in from China has been deemed unsuitable for use.

CORK GAELTACHT FABRIC company Sullane Valley Manufacturing has stepped in to try to help Cork University Hospital to alter some of the consignment of personal protective equipment (PPE) recently received from China to make it suitable for use.  

It emerged over the weekend that one fifth of the first batch of PPE – costing roughly €4 million – delivered from China for use by the HSE didn’t meet the specified requirements. 

Company director Siobhán Uí Scannláin explained that her staff have managed to alter some of the PPE which had previously been deemed unsuitable for use. 

She explained that the company got a call from the HSE on Friday asking for their help.  A staff member went to Cork University Hospital at the weekend to get a better understanding of the problem, and they then set to work tailoring the garments so that they would be safe to use.

Speaking on An Saol ó Dheas on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Uí Scannláin said: “They got a lot of jumpsuit-type things.  So we took the legs off them and used them as sleeves, because a lot of the sleeves on the garments are too short.  

“We were able to use the legs as sleeves, and they also had elastic at the end, so that was good. They also wanted to get rid of the zips and use velcro because that’s safer.”

Uí Scannláin said that two staff members, Margaret O’Sullivan agus Geraldine Cullinane, had worked from morning to night all weekend to fulfull the initial requirement for the hospital, and that the whole team was now working on the project since Monday.

“The most important thing for them is to be able to remove the garment quickly when they’ve finished working with the sick patient, to be able to remove is easily and dispose of it.  That’s our aim, to try to make it very simple (for them), but that they have full protection, and that they can remove the garment easily.”

Siobhán said that the advantage of the material used in the PPE received was that no liquid could penetrate  it, and that the company was trying its utmost to source more similar material, but that was proving difficult at the moment.

“That’s the problem we have for the last few weeks, we can’t get our hands on fabric.  We’re trying again since this morning to get some.  If we could get the material, we could do anything for them.”

“We’re working with what’s there now – there are boxes over in the factory that need to be amended, and we’re happy to do everything we can to make them suitable for use.  We understand now what the nurses need for their teams, and when you have that understanding then you can do whatever they need.”

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