Government must reveal extent of financial ‘black hole’ in Health ahead of Budget 2019 – O’Brien
Sinn Féin deputy spokesperson for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform Jonathan O’Brien TD has called on Fine Gael to provide details of this year’s health spending before Budget 2019.
Speaking today, the Cork North-Central TD said:
“It was reported by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in its Mid-Year Expenditure Report that the Department of Health had spent €600 million more by the end of June compared to the same period last year. This amount is more than the total increase allocated to the department for 2018.
“These figures confirm reports that the Department could record a deficit of as much as €800 million this year.
“It is currently unclear whether these costs have been to meet the demand felt in our hospitals and whether they will affect the funds available in the upcoming budget.
“Despite asking the Minister for Finance for this information in the Dáil in July, his Department continues to obfuscate and hide the true financial position of the Department of Health.
“Sinn Féin has consistently called on the Government to adequately fund our health services, and concern around an €800 million ‘black hole’ in the Health budget is only further evidence of its chronic underfunding.
“The Minister must provide details of the financial position of the Health budget and the effects this will have on Budget 2019, particularly his Government’s ability to deliver on Sláintecare.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the Government’s underfunding of our health services together with their plans to misallocate €500 million to a Rainy Day Fund will make the delivery of Sláintecare impossible.
“I will be bringing these questions before the Budgetary Oversight Committee today and in the interests of transparency am asking that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform provide the details of Health’s financial position.”