Adams appeals to Louth TDs to back SF no-confidence motion over NCH scandal
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has appealed to Dáil colleagues in Louth to back Sinn Féin’s no confidence motion next week on the Health Minister Simon Harris.
The Louth TD made his appeal to Fergus O’Dowd, Declan Breathnach, and Peter Fitzpatrick.
Teachta Adams said:
“The Health Service has been in a state of permanent crisis for years. Minister Harris has failed to effectively tackle the trolley waits. The number of patients waiting on appointments, and others waiting on treatments, including surgery, is lengthening, including in Louth.
“In this constituency, there is an absence of health services, particularly mental health supports, the Louth County Hospital has been stripped back of services, there has been no progress on the promised Primary Care Centre and nurses were recently forced to strike in support of their rights. And the shame of the cervical cancer fiasco which led to deaths was on Minister Harris’s watch.
“The scandal of the National Children’s Hospital is the latest evidence of Minister Harris’s failures to do his job properly. We now know that the Board responsible for the oversight of the construction of the Children’s Hospital identified rising costs at least seven times throughout 2017 and 2018. On each occasion figures were presented and examined.
“A hospital which was tendered to cost €636 million is now at real risk of coming in over two billion euro.
“The Minister’s claim that he needed to wait until November last year before bringing this information to his Cabinet colleagues is not credible.
“However, we now know that by 6th June 2018 the hospital was over-budget by €95 million. Two months later at the beginning of August, it was €180 million over-budget.
“In the middle of August, the Board told the HSE and shortly after the Department of Health, that the hospital was over-budget by €191 million. They were also told that the contractor was looking an additional €200 million. The Minister was told this at the end of August.
“The National Children’s Hospital is the biggest capital project in the history of the state and it has become the biggest construction scandal.
“The Minister has run out of excuses. This is an extraordinary failure of leadership. It is an extraordinary failure of oversight and accountability. Minister Harris chose not to tell his colleagues about the escalating costs of a project at a critical moment in the budget process. It is a failure of such magnitude that the only honourable decision the Minister can take is to resign. If he refuses the Taoiseach should sack him.
“It is also claimed that Fianna Fáil was deceived. Does its Louth TD believe that that is acceptable behaviour from its partner in government?
“I would appeal to Teachtaí Breathnach, Fitzpatrick, and O’Dowd to support the motion of no confidence.”