Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD raised a number of outstanding issues with the Taoiseach regarding the Magdalene Laundries redress package. Disappointingly the Taoiseach was unable to confirm when the necessary legislation to provide medical cards to surviving women will be progressed by government.
The Dublin Central TD said:
“Two weeks ago the cabinet finally signed off on the Quirke recommendations for the Magdalene Redress Scheme. This progress whilst slow was welcomed. However a number of significant issues remain outstanding.
“On November 7th the Justice Minister stated that surviving women will be entitled to enhanced medical services similar to that available to the holders of the Health (Amendment) Act 1996 card, but that legislation is required to deliver on this commitment. Alan Shatter has made no firm commitment as to when this legislation will be progressed by his cabinet colleague James Reilly, and the Taoiseach was unable to shed any further light on the matter in the Dáil this morning.
“The government is poised to rush a pension’s bill through the Oireachtas over the coming weeks to conclude before the Christmas recess. It will be bitterly disappointing to the elderly Magdalene women that government is unwilling to demonstrate the same sense of urgency for the necessary legislation to provide them with the health supports they need.
“Minister Shatter made no reference to the surviving women living outside the state in his statement of November 7th or the implications of redress payments and supports on these women’s current social welfare entitlements from the country they currently reside in.
“There are a number of real concerns regarding the delivery of the Quirke recommendations and indeed on the current work of the scheme’s implementation team. To be frank the Department of Justice does not have a good track record for its treatment of these women and in that context the Justice Minister’s refusal to facilitate a Dáil debate on the Quirke recommendations is deeply worrying.” ENDS
Sinn Féin MPs Conor Murphy and Michelle Gildernew intend to travel to Westminster to argue the case for workers set to lose their jobs at Customs & Excise Office workers in the North.
Newry & Armagh MP Conor Murphy said:
“This has come out of the blue for the workers with 134 people set to lose their jobs in Newry as well as workers employed in Enniskillen and Derry.
“Workers have been told they have to agree to a voluntary exit scheme by the 18th December and are adament there is no opportunity for redeployment.
“Customs & Excise is controlled from by the British Treasury at Westminister and we have been in touch with SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan who will travel with us to Westminster to press Minister David Gauke to reconsider this move.
“”This is part of a broader move by the British Government to look after the Tories base in the south of England with job loses also scheduled for Scotland and the north of England.”
Fermanagh & South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said:
“The border constituency can ill-afford to lose more jobs. It is clearly bad news for the workers in the different offices but also, as with all job loses, will have a knock on affect for the local economy.
“We will be meeting with the workers involved to find out further details of what is on offer for them and what we can do to assist.”
Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has said today that he is optimistic on US immigration reform. Crowe, who has been active on the issue since becoming an elected representative, was speaking after he attended a briefing from Ciarán Staunton, President of The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR).
The briefing for Oireachtas members focused on the status of the Immigration Reform Bill in the US as well as a variety of Irish Diaspora issues.
Mr Staunton will hold a separate briefing with Sinn Féin’s Oireachtas members later today.
Deputy Crowe said:
“I want to thank Ciarán for travelling to Ireland and hosting what was a very informative and constructive briefing on Immigration Reform and other issues affecting the Irish Diaspora.
“It is vitally important that the Government, Oireachtas members, and Irish-Americans continue to lobby US Congress men and women on the need for immigration reform.
“Immigration reform will provide a pathway to citizenship for those that are living undocumented in the USA, which includes about 50,000 Irish. Therefore this bill would be life altering for this hardworking but vulnerable group, and needs all the support it can get.
“I have been to Capitol Hill in Washington DC to lobby on this issue and it is still hard to predict whether the bill will pass or not, but I am optimistic that common sense will prevail.
“I recognise the huge barriers placed in front of the campaign but I believe that legislation in Congress can happen on what is a very divisive issue, particularly for Republicans.
“At this crucial time it is vitally important that the US and Irish governments improve their coordination on immigration.
“I strongly support the E-3 visa campaign, which would see the granting of 10,500 visas annually, for Irish citizens who want to go to live and work in the US. This would secure a ‘future flow’ and direct contact between Ireland and the USA.
“The visas are non-immigrant, so US citizenship is not involved, but it would allow the recipient and his or her spouse to work in the USA, and to renew the visa every two years in perpetuity.
“Irish-America has done so much for Ireland over the years and it is important that Ireland supports the most vulnerable members of this community at this historic time.
“The undocumented Irish immigrants are not looking to go ahead of the line and receive special treatment, but are looking for a place in that line that will secure their legal status in the US.”
Speaking from a protest by parents in Dublin today, Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called upon the Edmund Rice Schools Trust to reinstate their original admissions policy to allow students to continue their education in Irish.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“Due to a number of changes in admissions policy by the Edmund Rice Schools Trust there will now be post-primary students who will not be able to continue their education in an Irish-medium setting.
“Gaelcholaiste Mhuire AG, Cork, has had to decrease the number of students that it can take in going from having three to two first year classes. The trust has also modified the number of feeder schools to the gaelcholaiste.
“Parents and teachers are rightfully angered by this move and gathered today to demonstrate against the decision.
“All children should be entitled to Irish-medium education and I am calling upon the Trust to amend their policy accordingly.
“This is a matter of educational equality.”
Responding to the European Commission’s decision to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for not complying with EU working time limits Sinn Féin Dublin EU Candidate Lynn Boylan has sharply criticised the Labour party for failing to deliver on very basic workers’ rights describing it as yet another example of Labour’s lurch to right.
The young female candidate said:
“In 2009 Labour’s Dublin MEP described the urgent need to reduce junior doctors excessive working hours as ‘a health and safety issue’, adding that it was ‘disgraceful that almost five years after the EU limits came into effect, junior doctors in Ireland are still forced to work dangerously long hours for themselves and their patients.’
“Here we are in 2013 with a Labour coalition government brought to the European Court of Justice for the very same breach of working time limits as Fianna Fáil and the PDs were responsible for.
“The EU Working Time Directive stipulates that junior doctors must not work more than 48 hours per week on average. It also requires junior doctors to have a minimum of 11 hours rest between shifts. Yet we know some junior doctors are working up to 90 hours in a week.
“This Directive has been in place since 2000. In 2009 the European Union criticised the Fianna Fáil led government and in 2011 it criticised Fine Gael and Labour for its failure to implement this Directive. Clearly this criticism has fallen on deaf ears resulting in the decision by the Commission to refer the violation to the ECJ.
“Surely a Labour party in government would have sought to champion such an important workers rights issue.
“The bottom line is excessive working hours is bad for junior doctors, bad for patients and it is undermining health service provision. Labour knows this and despite their fine words in opposition they have managed to compound the problem since taking their seats on the government benches.”
“Today is International Children's Day and it is important that we once again reinforce our commitment to the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child."
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams raised the issue of truth recovery and reconciliation following the remarks of the north’s Attorney General John Larkin.
The Sinn Féin leader urged the Taoiseach to facilitate a ‘rational, mature and measured debate on this issue in the Dáil’.
Speaking after Leaders Questions Gerry Adams said:
“US diplomats Richard Haass and Meghan O Sullivan are currently conducting intensive and inclusive negotiations to deal with outstanding aspects of the Good Friday and other Agreements. These include the legacy issues arising from the conflict.
“Everyone who has an interest in building the peace knows that the past cannot be allowed to be an obstacle to building the future. So, there needs to be a measured and inclusive debate on all of the issues involved.
“Today the North’s Attorney General John Larkin has put forward his ideas on dealing with one aspect of the legacy of the past – the issue of prosecutions. He has expressed a view that there should be no prosecutions, inquests or inquiries for incidents before the Good Friday Agreement.
“Mr Larkin has also said that the current position favours non-state forces. That is not the case. We know that the British government is in breach of international agreements and commitments in respect of the Pat Finucane Inquiry and the Dublin and Monaghan bombs.
“To all intents and purposes there is an amnesty for the British state forces and their allies while thousands of republicans and innocent nationalists have served very lengthy prison sentences.
“I have not had the chance to read the Attorney General’s full remarks on this issue. But I think it is a good thing that the Haass talks have encouraged people – he has had several hundred submissions – to express their opinions, including victims.
“Our wider society needs to have this debate. We need a sensitive, measured, reasoned and intelligent debate on these issues which recognises that any mechanism put in place must be victim centred and that it has to be done on the basis of equality.
“Sinn Féin has proposed that there be an international, independent truth recovery process. Others have different ideas and that is fair enough, but we need to take this opportunity to move the process forward in a way that looks after the victims but also builds the future for the survivors.
“It is necessary that in coming to the issue of truth and reconciliation that we all recognise that there are many different narratives to this story. All of these narratives have their own truth. There is no single voice for victims. Some want truth. Some want judicial processes.
“There are also different perspectives on the causes of the conflict, what happened and who was responsible.
“I am an Irish republican. British government involvement in Irish affairs and the partition of this country are in my view at the core of the problem but I recognise that others, for example, the unionists have a different view and their own sense of truth and we need to set all of these narratives side by side and respect them all.
“How do we encourage such a debate? The starting point must be a recognition by the Irish Government that this is a crucial matter and that as a co-equal partner with the British Government it has a responsibility to look after everyone on this island including our unionist neighbours.
“In this context I am looking to the government to encourage a joined-up inclusive, thoughtful discussion aimed at unshackling us from the past. We need a process that can ensure that the past is never repeated and which is aimed at forging a more hopeful future for the people who have survived the conflict and for our children and grandchildren.
“In this respect I am very conscious of the upcoming state visit by the President to Britain. It is important that these seismic changes can be measured by people not just in the palaces but also in the laneways and hillsides across this island.”
Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has slammed the Government over its lack of urgency and funding of a Youth Guarantee.
Crowe was speaking after a Sinn Féin proposed motion in the Dáil which called on the Government to allocate at least €400 million to adequately fund a robust Youth Guarantee Scheme.
Deputy Crowe said:
“The scale and depth of youth unemployment is absolutely shocking and causing huge social and economic damage right across this island.
“In this State 64,700 young people are currently unemployed and the unemployment rate for those under 25 years is almost 30 per cent.
“We know that this figure would be much higher if it wasn’t for the mass emigration of our young people with no other real option. UCC’s Emigre report found that over 70 per cent of Irish emigrants are aged in their twenties when they depart.
“Yet the Government and the EU has let this huge crisis continue unabated and showed a severe lack of any urgency in tackling what is one of the biggest problems this country is facing.
“I have been consistently raising this issue with the Government for months, in speeches in the Dáil, in the EU Affairs Committee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee, yet the Government have failed to listen and failed to act.
“In fact, while the Government was pouring out empty rhetoric about how it would prioritise tackling youth unemployment, it only provided €14 million in Budget 2014 for the Youth Guarantee Scheme. Additionally Labour and Fine Gael MEPs recently voted in the EU Parliament, for whatever bizarre reason, against increasing EU funding for youth employment measures.
“It’s long past the time that the Government gets serious and urgently tackles the funding of a Youth Guarantee Scheme, that we believe needs to be funded by about €400 million. A scheme that would aim to provide all young people with a good quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed.”
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Minister Noonan’s refusal to say when the government’s commitment to a Strategic Investment Bank will be implemented and his reference instead to a German bank playing a role in lending to the real economy points to a dropping of the State Bank plan and its replacement with reliance on a German bank.
Speaking after questioning Minister Noonan in the Dáil Deputy Doherty said:
“Once again Minister Noonan was unable to say when the Programme for Government commitment to a Strategic Investment Bank will be implemented.
“More worryingly is his references in his reply to the German development bank KFW as some sort of substitute for the Strategic Investment Bank. The Minister should be clear on what role KFW will have in the Irish economy and why the Taoiseach mentioned it in his speech on exiting the Troika programme last week.
“A German bank will act in Germany’s interests and cannot replace a State owned bank with a mandate to act in the interests of the Irish economy. Our SMEs are currently not availing of a normal rate of lending while personal customers find themselves with less and less choice in banking.
“The government has committed to establishing a Strategic Investment Bank and it should create one as a new entity or out of the shell of a current bank. A State Bank is a government promise and cannot be abandoned to be replaced with reliance on a German owned bank.”
Commenting at the conclusion of the CAP Reform negotiations Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said:
"It has been a long and difficult negotiation and credit is due to those who brought this to a conclusion.
"The reformed CAP is a compromise between 28 member states, therefore we did not achieve everything that I would have liked for our agriculture sector. Although I supported the compromise I do not believe there is sufficient flexibility in the legislation to reflect our preferred outcome.
"I am of course pleased with a less bureaucratic CAP, but feel that the dossier could have gone further in areas such as food security and action on big buyer abuses. The effectiveness and appropriateness of the greening measures are also debatable, while the funding cut to CAP which I have consistently opposed will be acutely felt by the farming comunity in the North of Ireland. Rural communities and food security are not areas I believe should be subject to political power plays.
"However this is the deal we have, but I will continue to flight to ensure security for rural communities through every avenue available.
"The new CAP places a burden of responsibility on the member states, and I will pay close attention to how the British Government - who was responsible for negotiating cuts to CAP - will compensate for the effect that the drastically reduced development package will have on rural communities.
"I am concerned that the CAP vote, and all other votes taken this week in the European Parliament relating to the new Multi-annual Financial Framework, were not subject to amendments from members or political groups which I believe is a dilution of democracy.
"Whilst I understand the need to bring many of these reports to a swift conclusion doing so at the expense of the democratic process is completely unacceptable. I certainly hope this is not a sign of things to come. Disregarding the will of the members - and by extension the electorate - will only cause a further loss of confidence in the EU institutions."
Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the government to fast track reform which would help to protect private rental tenants. He made his comments following the release of a report from housing charity Threshold which found many tenants living in very poor conditions and others having deposits withheld unfairly.
Deputy Ellis said;
“The mistreatment of private rental tenants by unscrupulous landlords is nothing new but it has been only made worse by a shortage of accommodation in recent years. Rents have gone up as the market swelled and conditions have gotten worse with Local Authorities reporting this year that the vast majority of properties inspected in recent blitzes have not met basic standards.
“The government has made claims it will help protect rental tenants but nothing has happened yet.
“Firstly we need to see greater support for Local Authorities to inspect private rental accommodation and hold landlords to account. We also need to see a dramatic increase in social housing stock to drive down rents and bring competition to slum landlords taking advantage of desperate people.
“Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said she will introduce a deposit retention scheme to stop unlawful withholding of deposits which is all too common. This is needed and the legislation is there but nothing has been done yet. I submitted an amendment to the recent Residential Tenancy Bill which would have put a scheme in place but it was rejected by the government. We can’t drag our heals any longer.
“The government must also invest in the Residential Tenancies Board which currently receives no state funding but will soon have an expanded remit. In recent years they have had to cut staff and outsource. These cuts make their future viability less likely and lowered their capacity to deal with disputes.”
Responding to proposals made by the Attorney General John Larkin on the issue of dealing with the past, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said:
“Sinn Féin first published proposals on trying to deal with the past over ten years ago. In recent times with the establishment of the Haass Talks others have increasingly been making their voices heard and putting their ideas forward. This is a good thing. Our wider society needs to have this debate.
“Today the Attorney General in the north has put forward his ideas on dealing with one aspect of this, the issue of prosecutions. He has stated a view that there should be no prosecutions, inquests or inquiries for incidents pre the Good Friday Agreement.
“He has also said that the current position favours non-state forces. That is not the case. To all intents and purposes there is an amnesty for the British state forces and their allies. The British government has also broken inter-government agreements and commitments to deal with outstanding cases like the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane and has refused to release files on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
“I have not had the chance to read the AG’s submission but this issue is much bigger than simply the issue of prosecutions.
“Whatever mechanisms are agreed in the future they need to be victim centred. The views of victims must be central to any effort to deal with the legacy of the past. Their voices must be heard and respected and all victims must be treated on the basis of equality.
“As it stands there is no single view from victims and survivors and it is unlikely that there will be one in the future. Some families seek truth, others seek a judicial process.
“Sinn Féin has proposed an Independent International Truth Recovery process. It is our view that this sort of approach offers the best way forward for victims and survivors and the best way forward for trying to deal with the legacy of the conflict and the effect it has on the political process in the here and now.“The two governments should facilitate this. The past cannot be an obstacle to dealing with the present or a pretext for refusing to build a new future.” ENDS
Responding to the announcement of the Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2013 Sinn Féin Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:
“The Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2013 would be an improvement on the current situation which can leave workers who have accrued future pension entitlements with little or nothing. But it still doesn't get the balance right. Fundamental inequities are left unaddressed. In order to protect high-end gold plated pensions, workers approaching retirement age will remain woefully unprotected.
“In October 2011 Minister Burton suggested a more equitable style of reform. But it’s amazing what two years in government with Fine Gael has done to her, now she is just tinkering at the top instead.
“Also, the government is now saying that the pension levy will be used to fund shortfalls in the case of double insolvencies. But the pension levy has already been allocated to the Exchequer deficit. This is double accounting. This is the kind of thing that got us into crisis in the first place.”
Speaking in the EU Parliament today on Cohesion Funding Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson disagreed with the use of macro-conditionality to ensure ‘budgetary discipline’ on Cohesion funding.
Martina Anderson said:
“Ireland is in receipt of EU funding which delivers much needed investment - hence I'm acutely aware of the importance of Cohesion Policy funding.
“But I disagree with macro-economic conditionality being applied to cohesion funding - the sanctioning mechanism triggering suspension of funds if "budgetary discipline" - namely austerity is not implemented.
“Cohesion Policy should not have a sword hanging over its head as it will only provide another excuse for the banking sectors reluctance to provide credit to SMEs or Councils for much needed projects when the EU funding element of the project could be suspended.
“That said, I recognise the work done by colleagues in the REGI Committee to limit the application of macro-economic conditionality by including socio-economic safeguards that take into account unemployment and poverty rates in relevant Member States when suspension of cohesion funds is being considered.
“However I still believe it will have adverse impact on the object of Cohesion Funding.”
Minister Burton should not be using her position to protect the profits of these organisations while knowing that they have been exploitative.
Speaking in the Dáil tonight, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald said that the Labour Party in government is kicking young people while they are down.
Deputy McDonald was speaking on Sinn Féin’s private members business motion on youth unemployment and emigration.
“Budget 2014 promised a paltry 4,500 additional places for young people. Last year Labour promised 10,000 training places, but so far has only delivered 5,500.
“Government’s over promised and under delivered ‘Action Plan for Jobs’ contains 275 recommended actions – just 4 of these relates to youth.
“This particular shortfall is absolutely astonishing to me. Youth unemployment and emigration is at an historic high and Government response is to allocate just over 1 per cent of an action plan on jobs to getting our young people back to work.
“Not happy to merely kick someone when they are down Joan Burton rumbles up a whopping cut of 30 per cent to jobseekers – despite promising time and again that the Labour would protect basic social welfare payments.
“What makes this dishonestly all the more unpalatable is the absolute brass neck of Labour to trounce itself around the capital city holding public meetings advocating the benefits of a Youth Guarantee it is actively failing to deliver on.
“Just two months ago Fine Gael and Labour MEPs voted against increasing the EU’s budget allocation for youth employment measures.
“Here at home government’s allocated a miserly 14 million euro although no-one, including Labour seems to know what exactly this drop in the ocean will be spent on or what new and additional spending if any is to go towards its Youth Guarantee.
“Sinn Féin has put forward a solid solution to the challenge of funding an ambitious Youth Guarantee programme. We’ve proposed ring-fencing wealth tax income for jobs for young people.”
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien tonight claimed that a generation of young people is leaving the state on this government’s watch.
The Cork North-Central TD made the comments in Dáil while opening the debate on his party’s private members motion on youth unemployment and emigration.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“I want to begin this debate with the words of Anthony McDermott - a young man who was forced to emigrate to Australia, he wrote;
“‘Will they meet us on the runway, and welcome us home with great cheers?
“And will the men in power and the bankers, give us back our long, lost years?
“Now my generation’s leaving, a generation going away,
“A generation that didn’t cause this mess, but the generation that has to pay.’
“Minister a generation is leaving. On average last year 1,700 people left every week.
“Since 2011 over a quarter of million people have emigrated. There are more people leaving this state now than any time since the late eighties.
“Of these 70% are in their twenties, 62% are graduates, highly educated young people, the very life blood of this State, a devastating loss to our economic recovery and our future not to mention their families and friends.
“Differing ministers have spoken in the past of the emigration as a choice, as a good thing. They make it sound like it’s a school exchange visit or a year out to party.
“Reports recently published found 39.5% of all recent emigrants would like to return to Ireland in the next three years, however, only 22% see it as likely.
“78% of emigrants do not envisage a return to Ireland in the next three years. That is a damming indictment of this government and the previous government response to emigration.
Minister we have a generation lost.
“A generation seeking only opportunity and work.
“A modest demand. A demand that the government should deliver.
“The response of the government has been to blame the very young people who want to work, who are crying out for further education and training with the real prospect of employment at the end of it all.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Job, Enterprise and Innovation Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has stated that cuts to the Health and Safety Authority Budget could place workers at risk.
The Cork North-Central TD made the comments in relation to the appearance today of Micheal Horgan, Chairperson of the Health and Safety Authority, before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Speaking following the meeting Deputy O’Brien said:
“Today the committee heard of the pressure facing the Health and Safety Authority following successive budget cuts. The authority will now conduct 1000 less inspections of workplaces. The Authority has lost essential skilled and experienced technical and these have not been replaced due to the moratorium on recruitment.
“I raised my concern that these cuts backs where placing workers at risk and believe that there is a need for the government to act to replace staff and to reinstate the 1000 workplace inspections lost due to cutbacks.”
Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has slammed those who left a viable explosive device yards from a local school and playground.
Speaking today Mr Maskey said:
“Those who left a viable explosive device yards from La Salle secondary school and a playground need to come forward and explain to this community why they have put local residents and school children in danger.
“Many residents had to leave their homes in near freezing conditions while this device was dealt with. Those responsible have no support in this area yet continue sporadically to endanger the community. They are not wanted and these actions are futile yet highly reckless.
“It is only a matter of time before one of these devices explode and injures or indeed kills a local person. It is my belief that those behind such actions will hide from this community as they have done every time they choose to endanger and inconvenience local residents.”
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach to end the culture of privilege that exists at the top of the HSE and in Government which has led to senior executives in state-funded voluntary hospitals and health agencies breaching Government pay policy.
Speaking at Leaders Questions in the Dáil today Gerry Adams said:
“The Master of the Rotunda Hospital received a package of more than €306,000. The Master of the National Maternity Hospital received a package of €281,892. The Chief Executive of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) received a package of €242,865.
“This, when your Government has yet to provide funding for bilateral cochlear implants for profoundly deaf children and when ‘Tracheostomy babies’ in Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin, who are well enough to go home can’t, because the HSE hasn’t sanctioned safe levels of homecare. Some of these children face their second Christmas in hospital.
“Meanwhile, the CEO of Crumlin Children's Hospital, on a salary of some €110,000 per year, is awarded a €30,000 top-up from the proceeds of the campus shop.
“At a time of savage cutbacks to disability services, with hard-pressed families forced to fundraise for vital supports for their children, surely these proceeds should be used for hospital services, rather than a top-up for very well-paid executives?”
Asking how long the Taoiseach and Minister for Health had been aware of the situation and what they intend to do about it, Mr Adams pointed to reports that the Department of Health was aware as far back as since 1998 that certain institutions had paid chief officers over and above HSE pay scale levels, through other resources.
Mr Adams said:
“We have more HSE top executives on salaries of over €100,000 per annum now than we did last year. Is it any wonder these breaches occur when your own Cabinet breaches the guidelines in the pay you award your special advisors?
“Taoiseach, isn’t the fundamental problem here that there remains a culture of privilege at the top of the HSE? And isn’t it the case that your government has fuelled such a culture of privilege through the actions of your Ministers in breaching pay guidelines at a time of severe hardship for most citizens?”