Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has demanded the resignation of the Minister for Health James Reilly for his woeful mismanagement of the health budget and for breaking his promises to patients in Mayo.
Speaking in the Dáil during a Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence in Minister Reilly, Deputy Calleary says frontline health services in Co Mayo and across the West are being cut as a direct result of Minister Reilly’s failures. He said people are furious at the way in which they have been misled and let down by the Minister.
“Before he became Minister for Health James Reilly was the deputy leader of Fine Gael and the party’s Spokesperson on Health, and he travelled the country engaging in a cynical campaign with the sole purpose of winning votes. He made promises in Roscommon and Sligo and other counties across the West of Ireland. He made promises to people with disabilities and to thalidomide and symphysiotomy groups. He opposed the implementation of the transformation of the cancer control programme. Usain Bolt would not have kept up with the Minister in his rush to jump on trucks around the country to tell every community group he would look after it.
“Not only has the Minister failed to keep this promise, he has made such a mess of managing the health service over the past 18 months that he is now bulldozing through frontline services and supports for people with disabilities. I will give just one example of group which organised awareness training on suicide for volunteers in youth organisations. They had to cancel a course for 30 people at the weekend in Westport because the HSE people were not allowed to travel. Even though the group was willing to pay their travel expenses they could not proceed.
“Despite the fact that hospitals have made huge efforts, those which were successful like Mayo General Hospital have had their budgets cut even further and they do not receive any credit for the fact they took locally-based decisions. As a result, they are cancelling elective surgery as we speak. People cannot get an appointment to see a consultant to get on a waiting list. If people cannot get on a waiting list it is no wonder the waiting lists are being reduced.”
Deputy Calleary said it’s extremely disappointing that instead of standing up for patients, Government TD gave their backing to Minister Reilly and defeated the motion of no confidence.
Speaking afterwards he said, “People in Mayo are extremely worried about the threat of even more cuts to our local health services as Minister Reilly seems unable or unwilling to bring the situation under control. His own government colleagues may claim to have confidence in him, but it is quite clear that patients do not.”