Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary slammed the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, for his lack of “competence” during a chaotic week following significant health cuts announced last week. The deputy also condemned the cancellation of meeting which was scheduled to take place yesterday (Thursday ) between Mayo deputies and HSE West management.
Deputy Calleary said that the meeting which was proposed Friday evening, was confirmed again on Wednesday and then cancelled on Thursday morning. He said that the cancellation was no reflection on local officials in Mayo, but is part of a national agenda. The Fianna Fáil TD said that the meeting was of urgent importance as “we are trying to get answers to reassure people” about how the national €130 million in cuts are going to impact on Mayo, as people want to know if there will be home care package cuts or cuts at frontline services at Mayo General Hospital. “The most vulnerable in society are being scared,” he said, “we need answers”.
The deputy said that the U-turn on this meeting came on the back of a national U-turn as regards the proposed €10 million cuts which would affect the disabled through cuts to personal assistant hours. The minister reversed these proposed cuts on Wednesday following public outrage, with protests outside Government buildings held by people with disabilities. The Minister has instead directed the HSE to save money elsewhere.
As the meeting of local representatives and HSE management did not go ahead on Thursday the full impact on these major cuts are not apparent as of yet, and the future of the Medical Assessment Unit at Mayo General Hospital is still up in the air. Last week as reported in the Mayo Advertiser there is rife speculation that the Medical Assessment Unit was to close due to a shortage of nurses to run the unit, however the HSE have not confirmed as of yet what the long time future of the assessment unit is to be.
Deputy Calleary said that the rescheduled meeting between the deputies and HSE management should take place next week. Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD said that he will make urgently contact with HSE management in order to see when this meeting will take place.
Motion of no confidence
Deputy Calleary said that Minister Reilly is “very incompetent” and is clearly “making it up as he is going along”. Because of this, the deputy said that Fianna Fáil are to table a motion of no-confidence in the minister in the Dáil on Tuesday week (September 18 ). Deputy Calleary said that the Minister’s “actions” during the past week has shown that it is difficult for anyone to have confidence in him.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has however defended Minister Reilly. Speaking at an event in Dublin on Thursday he said that Minister Reilly should “be admired” for “having the courage” to reverse the personal assistance cuts