The AIT International Arena, which is to be used as a vaccination centre, and Deputy Denis Naughten.

Vaccine hubs 'must cross county lines' says TD

Local TD Denis Naughten is urging the government to ensure people can receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the location that suits them best, even if that's not in the county where they live.

On Monday it was confirmed that Athlone IT's International Arena would be used as a vaccination hub, and Deputy Naughten said it was essential that people in South Roscommon or East Galway would be allowed to receive their vaccination in Athlone if it was the most convenient site for them.

"My concern is that these (centres) would be allocated based on particular doctors or particular geographic areas, so that people in South Roscommon or in Ballinasloe may not be able to avail of the vaccination centre in Athlone, which would be crazy.

"What I'm looking for is some clarity in relation to that. I've been talking to some doctors who are saying a big bulk of people will be vaccinated in GPs' surgeries and pharmacies, rather than these vaccination centres.

"And yet there was no reference to GPs' surgeries and pharmacies - good, bad or indifferent - in this week's announcement," said the TD.

AIT President Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin said the Institute was playing its part in the fight against Covid-19 by offering its facilities for mass vaccination use.

"The five research arms of our institute have been engaged in the fight against COVID since the beginning of the pandemic, as have many of our staff who were redeployed to help with tracing and testing," he said.

"Now, we have answered the call to act as a designated centre for Ireland’s mass vaccination programme.

"We are proud to support the HSE in this endeavour by providing the AIT International Arena as a venue for the safe and efficient vaccination of our community."