Belfast Telegraph

Elton John's €750,000 for HIV fight lies unused

A donation from pop star Elton John to combat the spread of HIV in the Republic has never been put to use.

Two years ago the singer donated €750,000 to the Irish government for the provision of clean needles for drug addicts.

However the programme has yet to get off the ground and the money has never been used.

Despite several announcements of its imminent start-up, the life-saving scheme has been caught up in red tape and difficulties with recruiting pharmacists to provide the needles.

In recent weeks the delay prompted the Elton John AIDS Foundation to renegotiate the terms of the deal. The foundation has now told the Irish Health Service Executive it will withhold the promised funding unless progress is made with the scheme.

A HSE spokeswoman said: "We are finalising locations and a roll-out plan will be announced in due course."

Belfast Telegraph

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