Minister for Health tone deaf to housing and waiting lists challenges faced by healthcare workers - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, David Cullinane TD, has said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly needs to take his head out of the sand and stop deflecting blame for government's housing failures on to opposition.
Deputy Cullinane’s comments come following the Minister’s assertion that Sinn Féin ‘need the housing crisis’ - ignoring the INMO citing the lack of affordable housing as a huge problem in recruiting nurses - while also falsely claiming waiting lists are coming down.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“For the Minister for Health to say Sinn Féin needs the housing crisis is a pathetic response while thousands of households across the state suffer the consequences of his government’s decision to end the eviction ban.
“Healthcare workers are among those suffering the most - people whose interests the Minister should be standing up for at the cabinet table.
“That is what he should be doing instead of taking tone deaf cheap shots at the opposition.
“Nurses and other healthcare workers are emigrating in their droves as a direct result of working conditions in our hospitals and the government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis.
“The INMO has cited the housing crisis and the lack of affordable housing across our cities, towns and rural communities as a huge stumbling block to attracting nurses into our public hospitals.
“They are right, and the Minister should take responsibility for his government’s failures.
“The truth is we need a government that is committed to solving the crisis and building the homes we need.
“Instead, this government has failed to reach its own social and affordable housing targets, which are too low in the first instance, and they underspent on the capital allocation for housing by €1bn.
“The government is presiding over a housing disaster which is creating enormous challenges in all areas of the economy, including recruiting and retaining workers in our public service - nurses, teachers and Gardaí.
“The Minister also claimed waiting lists are decreasing. This simply isn’t true. The latest outpatient figures showed the total number of people on waiting lists increased to 596,099 in February, up from 589,670 the previous month.
“Minister Donnelly needs to take his head out of the sand, address the long health waiting lists, the overcrowding in our hospitals and stop blaming the opposition for his government’s failures.”