Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless, has hit out at Taoiseach Micheál Martin over remarks he made in the Dáil on Wednesday regarding the EU cross border directive.
Lawless said: "Yesterday Independent TD for Cork, Deputy Michael Collins raised concerns in the Dáil about the threat posed to the Cross Border Directive by the chance of a no deal brexit.
"The Taoiseach responded by jeering and mocking Deputy Collins, saying “you guys put the busses together and run a bit of an auld operation”. He failed to answer the very important question – what will happen with the cross border directive in the event of a no deal?”
Lawless continued: "This isn’t the first time Micheál Martin has poked fun at those of us who organise these cataract busses, earlier this year, during the general election campaign,
"Taoiseach Martin was more than happy to use the cataract busses during one of the leaders debates against Leo Varadkar. He referenced the elected representatives who bring patients to Belfast, in an obvious and blatant attempt at political point scoring. At the time I challenged Fianna Fáil to list the names of their TDs who’ve taken patients to Belfast. Unsurprisingly they did not furnish us with any names.
"This is a serious concern for the many people I bring to the North for cataracts and other procedures, and indeed I have a bus ready to go next month and there are a lot of people getting in touch with me to book a place. Micheál Martin needs to stop with his lame attempts at humour in the Dáil and take this issue seriously.
"We were promised by Simon Coveney, under the previous government, that legislation would be put in place to protect the directive in the event of a no deal. We in Aontú now want to know what the progress or status in with that legislation. The Taoiseach should show a little more compassion for those who suffer from either a latent or imminent attack of blindness and perhaps show a little more respect for the directive because without the busses we organise, patients could go blind while sitting on waiting lists in the south" concluded Mr Lawless.
The next Mayo Cataract bus is set to take place next month, October 10 and 11, with consultation and surgery, taking place on consecutive days over the same weekend.