Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Latest Statements


Toggle

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said the Justice Minister's decision to abandon plans to establish an Insurance Fraud Unit within An Garda Síochana is ‘a worrying development’.
 
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;
 
“Yesterday’s confirmation by the Minister for Justice that plans for a dedicated insurance fraud unit within An Garda Síochana has been scraped is a worrying development. This is particularly concerning given the time wasted on discussing these proposals in detail.
 
“Plans for such a unit have been in the pipeline for some time, and although I had concerns about how such a unit would be funded, it was certainly a worthwhile proposal.
 
“I note the Department of Finance had recommended the establishment of a unit dealing specifically with insurance fraud, but it seems they will go unheard.

"They are not lone voices in calling for an insurance fraud unit.
 
“I would agree with Peter Boland insofar as he says the Minister's new plans are a bit of a fudge, but I would also state that the Insurance Industry itself has much to answer for given its repeated missing of deadlines when the consultation phase for this unit was open.
 
“I think the Minister should reconsider this announcement, and look at why the Department of Finance recommended such a unit."

Toggle

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on Minster for Housing Eoghan Murphy to stop promoting “co-living” as the solution to rental crisis, describing his “co-living” dream a step on the road to the tenements of the future. He called on the Minister to use the time he is spending promoting the concept of “co-living” to deliver affordable cost rental.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“So called ‘Co-living’ is not a solution to the rental crisis. It is a step on the road to the tenements of the future.

“The Minister’s comments about young people having to make sacrifices in terms of rental accommodation are quite frankly bizarre.

“Young people are facing rising costs for rents, insurance, and education and the Minister’s patronising comments were not helpful.

“Since he took up the role as Minister for Housing, Minister Murphy has reduced apartment standards and removed height restrictions, all so developers can maximise profit by building cramped living spaces. 

“The Minister must also stop promoting this as a cheaper alternative to the traditional house share. It is not.  Some of the co-living developments will command rents of up to €1,300 per month.

“Minister Murphy’s time would be better spent rolling out affordable cost rental.

“He should also be honest about introducing indefinite leases. These proposals were brought forward many times by opposition parties and were roundly rejected by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

“The so called ‘co-living’ concept has no place in our current dysfunctional rental market.” 

Toggle

The leaderships and candidates of unionist political parties should immediately reject the endorsement of loyalist paramilitary groups, Sinn Féin European candidate Martina Anderson has said.

She was speaking after the Loyalist Communities Council, which is linked to the UDA, UVF and The Hand Commando, issued a statement urging people only to vote for unionist candidates in Thursday’s election.

Martina Anderson commented: “The LCC statement is just the latest example of a group representing loyalist paramilitaries publicly endorsing unionist candidates in recent elections.

“Loyalist paramilitaries are still actively involved in violence, intimidation, drug-dealing and murder. They have no right to tell anyone how they should exercise their democratic entitlements.

“Their endorsement should be immediately and publicly rejected by the leaderships of the unionist political parties.

“Arlene Foster, Robin Swann and Jim Allister should make it clear that these organisations have no place in our society and should disband immediately.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, who as a Stormont minister helped to establish the Hart Inquiry into historical institutional abuse, has said she is appalled at how victims and survivors have been treated by the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

Martina Anderson was commenting after Karen Bradley again refused to introduce legislation and compensation as recommended by the judicial inquiry into the abuse.

She said: “As someone who worked closely with victims and survivors to see the Hart Inquiry established during my time as a Junior Minister in Martin McGuinness’s office, I am appalled at the trauma and distress which Karen Bradley has heaped upon them this week.

“How anyone can do that, after meeting these people and listening to the horror of what they have been through is galling. Karen Bradley should hang her head in shame.

“Rather than getting on with implementing the Hart recommendations and putting in place the required legal and financial framework to assist victims and survivors, she continues to stall and to use victims as political pawns.

“That is completely unacceptable and it needs to stop.

“Sinn Féin will be convening further multi-party talks tomorrow in order to keep the pressure on Karen Bradley to belatedly do the right thing and bring forward the required legislation for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has urged people in Waterford to back Liadh Ní Riada for the European elections if they want someone who will defend Irish interests in the midst of Brexit.

“The Tories have shown time and time again that they have little to no regard for what happens Ireland, north or south, in the aftermath of Brexit,” he said.

“It is crucial that we elect people to the European Parliament who will defend Ireland's interests in Europe, not Europe's interests in Ireland.

“Sinn Féin have continually been ahead of the pack when it comes to protecting Ireland from the Brexit fallout.

“We championed the call for Special Status for the north, a notion that was rubbished by other parties at the time but is now the default European and Irish Government position.

“In the European Parliament, Liadh proposed a hugely successful amendment, committing the parliament to upholding the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process, a commitment which has changed the shape of the Brexit talks and put protecting Ireland at the front and centre of them.

“She has been a committed advocate for Irish sovereignty in Brussels and has lobbied for huge support from MEPs across Europe for measures to protect Ireland in the aftermath of Brexit.

“She has used her role on the Budgets Committee to argue for the need for a post-Brexit fund to support Irish SMEs and her role on the Fisheries Committee to insist that boats forced out of British waters post-Brexit cannot just be shunted into already crowded Irish waters.

“Ireland and Waterford need a strong, republican voice in Europe that will defend Irish interests, not kowtow to EU demands. Liadh Ní Riada is that voice.” 

Toggle

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised the Fine Gael government for sleepwalking into a capacity crisis for childcare provision for babies and toddlers.

The Midlands North West MEP said:

“On top of the exorbitant cost of childcare in this state we now face a critical shortage of crèche places for under-threes. The Fine Gael government has sleepwalked into this mess despite being warned by officials several years ago of this precise problem developing.

“This government’s childcare policy has failed parents, and particularly women who want to re-enter the workforce following a period of maternity leave. It has resulted in Ireland having the highest childcare costs in the EU as well the second-worst rate of workplace participation for women in the EU.

"We also have the highest rate of single-parent families in the EU, 86 per cent of which are headed by women, who bear an especially tough burden when it comes to childcare costs.

"Paying childcare costs is now like paying a second mortgage for many families. There is also a close relationship between the astronomical cost of childcare and child poverty and lone-parent family poverty. Almost one in five children are now living under the poverty line.

“Back in 2016, Early Childhood Ireland warned the government that this capacity crisis for under-threes would develop as a consequence of the nature of the government’s Early Childhood Care and Education scheme. 

"As usual, Fine Gael did nothing and allowed this to develop into a major problem with no intervention whatsoever. And, as usual, Fianna Fáil sat back and watched.

“This means that we now we have babies and toddlers being turned away from childcare centres, which have been incentivised by government policy to cater only for pre-school age children.

"Parents, particularly women, are being forced to postpone going back to work because they simply cannot find a place for their child in a crèche.

“These conditions are intolerable. Government policy is condemning women and men who may want to work to stay at home, or to work in casual, precarious jobs. It is condemning a generation of children and lone-parent families to biting poverty.

“The failure by the government to address these issues, and the chronic underinvestment in childcare services over many years, show that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil don’t care about women, children or families.

“Sinn Féin will fight for better, affordable childcare provision; for quality jobs and housing; and for an end to the shame of child poverty."

Toggle

No sector, group or individual should be expected to suffer the denial or dilution of their rights as the cost of restoring the power-sharing institutions at Stormont, Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill has said.

Speaking after all-party meetings with civic society groups at the Stormont negotiations today, Michelle O’Neill commented:

“Today’s discussions were certainly a positive exercise. Meaningful engagement with civic society is needed and Sinn Féin has always made it a priority to do so. We will continue to do that in the ahead.

“We have been meeting with a wide range of civic society, all the churches, the trade unions, business organisations, women’s groups, language groups, the community and voluntary sector and everyone out there because this process and these institutions belong to us all.

“It crucial that wider civic society is bringing their concerns and aspirations into these talks because all parties and both governments need to hear a clear message about the impact of the ongoing denial of rights and the damage caused to our public services by sustained year on year budget cuts imposed by the British government.

“These issues need to be addressed by the talks if we are to establish credible and sustainable institutions that treat all on the basis of equality.

“That is what the vast majority of the public want to see. And as Saturday’s demonstration in Belfast showed, there is no appetite for anyone’s rights to be excluded, denied or diluted as the cost of restoring the power-sharing institutions.

“None of the issues are insurmountable or unresolvable. 

“Agreement can be reached through the implementation of agreements already made, delivering good governance and safeguarding rights enjoyed by citizens in the rest of Ireland and in Britain.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has asked voters in Donegal to support him in his bid to continue his work in Europe so that he can continue fighting for further investment in the county and also to vote for Sinn Féin’s local election candidates. 

Speaking in Donegal on Monday, Carthy said:

“I have been privilaged to represent the people of Donegal over the past five years - my track record of work in this county is unparalleled by any other MEP.

“These EU and local elections are crucial for the Irish people as we face major challenges including Brexit, climate breakdown, an unsustainable housing bubble and global financial instability.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have been disastrous for rural Ireland and for border counties. We have seen rural towns and villages decimated with the closure of post offices, Garda stations and small businesses.

“Families are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, massive increases in rents, unaffordable childcare and a crumbling health service.

“The new housing bubble fuelled by government policy has priced out an entire generation from being able to buy their own home.

“Fine Gael’s European election candidates cannot be distanced from the disastrous and reckless policies of the present government.

“And Fianna Fáil's candidates cannot be distanced from their party’s role in propping up Fine Gael government, despite endless scandals like the National Broadband Plan debacle and the scandal of the Children’s Hospital overspend.

“It is important that the people of Donegal make it very clear that they have had enough of this and the most effective way to do that is to vote for Sinn Féin in the European and Local Government elections.

“Donegal is the county with most to lose from a hard Brexit. It was Sinn Féin MEPs who made sure that the concerns of the people of Donegal were central in terms of the Brexit negotiations.

“I have worked closely with Pearse Doherty TD and Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn on a raft of issues that face people across Donegal, including sewerage facilities in Gweedore, on adequate drinking and wastewater across the county, for improved flood defences and for a better deal for local farmers and fishing communities.

“I have worked with Donegal Action for Cancer Care who are doing fantastic work in highlighting the inequality people in Donegal face in relation to cancer care services. I brought the organisation to Europe where they got an opportunity to directly face the Commission representatives and outline the failure of the Irish Government to adequately provide healthcare facilities. 

“I want to continue fighting on behalf of the people of Donegal. I want to continue working alongside Pearse Doherty TD, Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn and the great team of Sinn Féin Councillors in Donegal in demanding that adequate investment at a national and European level comes to the county.

“If re-elected, I will continue to provide leadership on Brexit, including standing firm on the backstop, and campaigning for the EU to support a border poll on Irish unity.

"I will defend public services and decent jobs in Donegal, the interests of local farmers, stand up against vulture funds, and promote real climate action, which makes corporate polluters pay while ensuring the burden for tackling climate change is not put on ordinary working people.

“A vote for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is a vote for the same failed policies implemented at home to be promoted at the EU level. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for a fairer Ireland and a fairer, social Europe.”


Toggle

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Mental Health Pat Buckley has said that Liadh Ní Riada MEP puts equality and rights at the heart of her work in the EU.

Speaking from Cork, Teachta Buckley said:

“Since her election as an MEP, Liadh Ní Riada has been championing the cause of equality and rights. As a Member of the European Parliament, she has hosted a number of vitally important initiatives highlighting the inequality we face in our education system and I had the privilege to attend and contribute at one such event. 

“Whether its fighting for Irish language rights, Irish Sign Language recognition, or highlighting the difficulties being faced by persons with dyslexia or other literacy issues, Liadh has always put rights and equality at the heart of her work. 

“As an MEP, Liadh Ní Riada has delivered for the people of Ireland South and I am confident, that should she be re-elected she will continue to deliver for the constituency.” 

Toggle

Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has said that MEP Liadh Ní Riada is standing up and fighting for rural Ireland and Irish farmers. 

Speaking from Kerry, Teachta Ferris said:

“For the past five years, Liadh Ní Riada has used her position as a Member of the European Parliament to stand up for Irish farmers. 

“With a Government determined to continue with its policy of ignoring rural Ireland, it is of the utmost importance that the constituency of Ireland South return a fighting MEP, like Liadh. 

“Current proposals from the Brussels are that the Common Agricultural Policy fund or CAP, will be cut by 5%. In real terms, when the funds reach the ground, the cut will actually be much closer to 15% and that is why it is absolutely vital that we send an MEP to Brussels that will speak out against such cuts and will fight for rural Ireland.

“Liadh Ní Riada has spent the last 5 years in Brussels fighting hard to expose the Government Party's attitude towards rural issues at an EU level, and then fighting back against them. 

“It is quite evident to me that there is no effort to shield rural and peripheral areas from the uneven effects of privatisation and globalisation. There has been no effort to ease access of smaller groups or small farmers to vitally needed funds and we see money becoming entangled in bureaucracy and siphoned away by intermediaries. 

“Liadh Ní Riada is at the fore fighting these regressive policies and standing up for rural Ireland and Irish farmers. That is why on May 24th, I am calling on the people of Ireland South to vote Liadh Ní Riada, Number 1.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Victims and Legacy spokesperson Linda Dillon has welcomed today’s cross-party agreement supporting compensation for victims of historical institutional abuse.The Mid-Ulster MLA was speaking after convening a meeting of the six main parties to agree a joint approach to the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley.She commented: “I called today’s meeting in order to pursue a joint approach to the British Secretary of State in order to remove any blockage to her taking forward legislation for Victims and Survivors of historical institutional abuse.“I am pleased at the clear consensus that was evident at that meeting and all parties have agreed to send a joint letter to Karen Bradley addressing the issues which she claimed she needed answered.“There is now no excuse for any further stalling.“Karen Bradley should now immediately put in place the required legal and financial framework to assist victims and survivors.”

Toggle

Sinn Féin Victims and Legacy spokesperson Linda Dillon has again reiterated that there can be no prospect of immunity for British soldiers guilty of crimes in Ireland.

She was speaking as Westminster MP’s today debated a petition calling for an end to criminal investigations relating to the involvement of British forces in the conflict here.

The Mid-Ulster MLA said: “Sinn Féin has rigorously opposed any and every attempt to introduce a so-called statute of limitations or immunity for crimes committed by British soldiers in Ireland. We have stood in support of victims and will continue to do so.

"MP’s can have as many debates as they like on the issue but the fact is that any attempt to introduce immunity would simply not be tolerable or acceptable.

“No British soldier, past or present, can be exempted from the due process of the law.

“The way to deal with the legacy of our conflict is to implement the mechanisms endorsed by all the parties at the Stormont House Agreement.

“The British Government needs to get to with that process rather than pandering to a false narrative that the legacy process is somehow skewed against former state forces.”

Toggle

It is fantasy politics to suggest that the DUP could be given a Brexit veto via the Stormont Assembly, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has said.

She was commenting as British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to table the Withdrawal Agreement she negotiated with the EU for a fourth vote in Westminster next month. Amid claims that it will include new references to a role for Stormont in implementing the Backstop, Martina Anderson warned that there can be no veto for the DUP.

She said: “No member state can have a veto over single market and customs union rules so it’s inconceivable that the DUP would be able to block the withdrawal agreement via Stormont in the same way that they have blocked marriage equality and rights for victims, Irish speakers and women.

“As far as the EU is concerned, nobody can be permitted to cherry pick which rules they want to follow and which they don’t.

“The British Government is attempting to use the DUP to give themselves an effective veto over the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. But this is typical Tory/DUP fantasy politics which has no prospect of duping a European Union which has shown itself to be fully aware of the implications of Brexit on the island of Ireland and the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement via the Backstop.”

Toggle

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's policy document "Towards a New Employment Model", the Party's National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA, and spokesperson on Employment and Workers' Rights, said:

"Here in the north, a decade of British Tory austerity has had a devastating impact upon the regional labour market and local living standards.

"Since 2010 the block grant has been cut by 10.2% in real terms.

"Precarious working conditions, zero hours contracts and the scam of bogus self employment are in common practice.

"Workers rights and protections are being systematically reversed.

"Our Party believes secure employment and good pay should be the foundation of a sustainable, productive economy, and a prosperous, fair society.

"We believe that creating good jobs and protecting workers rights should be integral to public policy north and south.

"We have consolidated our proposals in this policy document "Towards a new Employment Model".

"At it's core is our support for the Living Wage as a minimum standard for decent pay. 

"We say that government as a major employer should lead the way, along with all public sector bodies, and pay their own staff the Living Wage as a minimum. 

"We assert that zero hours contracts are unfair, unproductive and exploitative. 

"This practice should be banned from the work place.

"Central to this policy document is our proposal to establish a new employment model.

"We urge all social partners, including public and private sector employers, the trade union movement and other stakeholders, to agree a new employment model which commits to ensuring the regional and island economies are based upon the principle and practice of the Living Wage.

"Turning to the issue of Brexit, Mr Kearney said: "The onset of Brexit will be a catastrophe for the regional and island economies.

"The combination of Brexit and Tory austerity, threatens jobs across all sectors, workers terms and conditions, and the prospect of ever having sustainable public services in the north.

"This perfect storm sharpens the implications of the political crisis in the north, caused by the denial of rights, successive financial scandals and an institutionalised lack of integrity in the regional government.

"The refusal to implement the Bill of Rights enshrined 21 years ago in the Good Friday Agreement, as well as other key provisions of that agreement, graphically sums up why all of these problems are now so mutually interlocking.

"Workers and employment rights, just like language, marriage, legacy justice, and reproductive health rights, are all human rights. There should be no hierarchy of rights. Sinn Féin will oppose attempts to bring this about.

"However, that responsibility must also be shared by all progressives.

"We are fully committed to defending the interests of working families and opposing the erosion of workers rights in the face of Brexit.

"We believe that these, alongside the direction of public investment and allocation of public housing on the basis of objective need, must be entrenched in any future Programme for Government. 

"This policy document is a statement of intent that Sinn Féin will bring forward future legislation on a new employment model, if a pathway to a rights based return to power sharing can be agreed." 

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD for Waterford Deputy David Cullinane has said proposed cost saving measures amounting to €10m at University Hospital Waterford will impact on front line services. 

UHW are finalizing plans to save €10m as part of a cost containment plan. This is in response to a memorandum sent to all Hospital managers by the Director General of the HSE advising hospitals to come in on budget. 

Speaking today, Deputy Cullinane said:

“Management at University Hospital Waterford have confirmed that they need to make savings of 5% this year to come in on budget. The current annual budget is €190m. This, quite simply, is cuts dressed up as cost savings. 

“The number of patients presenting to UHW is increasing year on year. This is due to an aging demographic and a growing population. Starving UHW of the funding it needs and then threatening to penalize the hospital for treating too many patients is wrong and is a false economy. It is Fine Gael politics at its worst. 

“Hospital management are seeking to save money by doing fewer elective surgeries. They are also looking at cutting overtime and employing less agency staff. While I have no difficulty in eliminating wasteful spending, I do have difficulty in reducing elective procedures and employing less front line staff. This will undoubtedly result in higher wait times. 

“The people of Waterford and the Southeast do not need spin. Dressing up cuts as cost savings is disingenuous. Treating less patients because of funding is wrong and should not be tolerated. We need to achieve savings where possible, but we also need to properly fund acute hospitals like UHW to ensure patients are treated safely and fairly.” 

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has called on workers to vote for Liadh Ní Riada MEP on the 24th May.

The Limerick City TD said:

“Liadh Ní Riada has a track record in defending and fighting for workers at home and in Europe.

“Liadh has always championed legislation that would ensure decent working conditions in all forms of employment, including a living wage.

“In Ireland and across Europe, many workers are unable to access or afford secure housing or health services due to continuing attack on workers’ rights and pay. Childcare is unaffordable for many forcing people out of the workforce. Low paid precarious work needs to end.

“Included in Liadh's priorities is advancing legislation on the right to collective bargaining and protecting the right to strike and strengthening protections for all workers, especially those in low paid sectors or working atypical hours, on fixed term contracts or working part time.

“Liadh will also passionately fight for the introduction of a social progress clause into the EU treaties in order to ensure that fundamental social rights and collective agreements on pay and conditions take precedence over the freedom of the markets.

“I know that Liadh Ní Riada will continue to fight for workers, and she has reaffirmed this by supporting the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s pledge to fight against the erosion or worker’s rights.

“If voters truly want to see Irish representatives in Europe who will uphold and promote the interests of working people, then I ask them to vote No. 1 for Liadh Ní Riada.” 

Toggle

Sinn Fein TD Kathleen Funchion is urging people in Kilkenny and Carlow to back MEP Liadh Ní Riada if they want to see real action on climate change.

The Carlow/Kilkenny TD was speaking as Ms Ní Riada visited the constituency with Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald.

“Liadh has been a tireless advocate for the environment since taking her seat in the European Parliament,” she said.

“As a Sinn Féin MEP, Liadh has been putting forward real, practical proposals to protect our planet.

“Along with her party colleague Lynn Boylan MEP, she spearheaded the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy as well as the legislation for the Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment.

“She has consistently held the Irish government to account on our failure to hit climate targets and has been deeply critical of the government's purchase of carbon credits rather than making real changes to our carbon output.

“In particular, she has insisted that large, corporate polluters must pay rather than lumbering already stretched families with yet another stealth tax.

“Just last month, she had no less than 31 amendments passed in the European Parliament which dealt with practical measures for protecting our oceans and fighting the plastic scourge.

“She has also worked closely with TDs and councillors to ensure that Sinn Féin is fighting for action on the environment at a local, national and international level.

“Liadh's record speaks for itself. If you want a campaigning MEP, someone who will fight for real climate action, then Liadh Ní Riada is the candidate for you.” 

Toggle

Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said those responsible for a shooting on the Ballynamoney Road in the early hours of this morning acted recklessly and with intent.

The Upper Bann MLA said:

“Those responsible acted recklessly and with the intent to cause injury or worse. 

“There is no place for guns on our streets and this morning the local community are rightly angered.

“Thankfully on this occasion no has been hurt but given the nature and number of these attacks of late it is only a matter of time before someone is killed.

“A PSNI investigation is underway and anyone who witnessed suspicious activity should report it.” 

Toggle

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said Fine Gael are continuing down a failed path as they stick to Fianna Fáil policy of allowing private clinics in the new children’s hospital.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“There have been many scandals and debacles regarding the new children’s hospital and the latest is the revelation that the hospital will include a number of private clinics for consultants to run outpatient clinics outside of their public commitments.

“The Minister for Health stated to me in a parliamentary question reply that he was doing so as ‘part of the National Contract for Consultants negotiated in 2008’ under the then Fianna Fáil government.

“It is absolutely ludicrous that the Minister would just roll over and continue down this failed path, rather than challenge it.

“The public who already being fleeced with the huge cost overrun are now being asked to pay for the building of private clinics – it is totally ridiculous.

“What’s more is this decision contravenes a fundamental principle of Sláintecare which is the removal of private care from public hospitals.

“Any Minister for Health who was up to the job would show leadership in this instance, but it is clear that Fine Gael just want to continue down the failed path of Fianna Fáil which is the privatisation of our health services.” ENDS

Note: Please see the PQ on which this statement is based below

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 08/05/2019
Question Number(s): 870 Question Reference(s): 19374/19
Department: Health
Asked by: Louise O'Reilly T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Health his views on whether it is fair that public funding is being used for the construction of private clinics to be used for private medicine at the new national children's hospital; and if the inclusion of same is a direct contradiction to the aims of Sláintecare

REPLY


The vast majority of services in the new children’s hospital will be public services.   Within the plan for the hospital, an area has been planned which carries the designation of "private clinic".  As part of the National Contract for Consultants negotiated in 2008, some consultants holding specific contracts are entitled to engage in private outpatient practice outside of their public commitment and this commitment must be conducted on site, that is, in the hospital they are contracted with. As a result, private outpatient clinics may be held on the public hospital campus but these clinics must be held outside contracted hours.  The new children's hospital is obliged to provide such facilities for consultants holding such contracts.  The proposal is for consultants to pay a fee for use of the rooms and other operational costs.  

The Report of the Independent Review Group established to examine private activity in public hospitals has been received and is being examined in my Department. It is a comprehensive examination of private activity in public hospitals and contains a small number of recommendations. When the recommendations have been examined and considered in my Department and by other relevant Government Departments, it is intended to bring proposals to Government and to publish the Report thereafter.

Toggle

Sinn Féin TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee, David Cullinane has called on the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to clarify statements he made to the Committee regarding the arrest of Lynn Margiotta and the subsequent collapsed court case. 

Deputy Cullinane said:

“When Commissioner Harris was before the PAC this month, I asked him about the case of Lynn Margiotta, as it raises issues regarding processes and procedures within an Garda Síochána. 

“Ms Margiotta was arrested by gardaí from Store St station three weeks after she had made a complaint of bullying against a member of the force. 

“She was arrested over a sick note. 

“The case made it all the way to court where it then collapsed. 

“Commissioner Harris said that there is no record of a complaint of bullying being made by Ms Margiotta. However, writing today in the Irish Examiner, the journalist Michael Clifford reports that Ms Margiotta did make a verbal complaint, setting in train a process that would lead to a formal written complaint.

“As per public sector policy, there was due to be a meeting to attempt mediation in the issue, but before the meeting could take place, she was arrested over the alleged false sick notes.

“Commissioner Harris also told the PAC that he was unable to go into greater detail as the matter was being investigated by GSOC.

“The Irish Examiner is reporting today that no such investigation is under way.

“This is unacceptable. We need answers from the Commissioner over the evidence he gave to the PAC. 

“I will be writing to the Committee today asking it to seek clarification from the Commissioner on these matters. 

“At a time when GSOC is reporting that it is ‘impossible’ to have proper overnight of the Garda Síochána, we cannot allow a situation to develop whereby a Commissioner's evidence to the PAC raises more questions than answers.” 

Connect with Sinn Féin