Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said he is stunned by the ease at which the Fine Gael party has almost completely reversed its position on the provision of hospital services at Roscommon County Hospital.  The rank hypocrisy of Minister Reilly just weeks after the election will further damage public confidence in the political system.

“The Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly has taken to his portfolio with great fanfare.  He’s sacked the board of the HSE, taken personal control of the health service and announced a stream of reviews.  However in the Dáil last evening Dr. Reilly defended the removal of services from Roscommon County Hospital despite explicit pledges to the community of Roscommon.

“In that context Dr. Reilly should be reminded of his own words.

On the 5th October 2010, Fine Gael held a private members motion on health services. The motion called on the Government to ensure that there are no further reductions to frontline staff or services; suspend the loss of frontline health services and capacity at hospitals, for example, at Clonmel, Merlin Park, Nenagh, Roscommon, Navan, Sligo, Letterkenny, Portiuncula, Wexford, Monaghan, Ennis and Louth County hospitals.

During the debate the now Minister said: “Nobody in the House opposes excellence in clinical care or denies the need for change in the provision of hospital services but when the Government’s immediate reaction is to close theatres and wards or to withdraw front line services to save money, we do have a problem, as this is a lazy way to attack our difficult situation.”

Speaking ahead of tonight’s vote Deputy Kelleher said: “In line with the Minister’s own comments in the Dáil less and a year ago is he prepared tonight to say that no theatres or wards will be closed, that no services will be withdrawn, that no hospital will be downgraded?  Is James Reilly anything more than bluff and bluster?

Deputy Kelleher said: “Not alone has Fine Gael abandoned its election promises to the people of Roscommon.  It is clear now that they never had any intention of keeping them and they will never be honoured.  As the Taoiseach himself made clear many times during the campaign, he was focussed on election.  The Fine Gael strategy, employed to great effect in Roscommon, was to promise whatever needed to be promised to get as many TDs over the line as possible.

“Those individual TDs who benefited can show that they still have some respect for their constituents, and support the Fianna Fáil amended motion in the vote tonight.”


Fianna Fáil Amendment to Private Members Business

That Dáil Éireann:

Calls on the Government to stand by its commitments made prior to and during the General Election in relation to the retention of accident and emergency services at hospitals including Roscommon, Navan, Letterkenny, Portlaoise, St. Columcille’s (Loughlinstown), Portiuncula (Ballinasloe), the Mid-Western (Limerick), Clonmel, Mallow and Bantry;.

To explain its reasons for reversing promises made during the General Election in relation to orthopaedic services at St. Mary’s Hospital, Cork and the return of comprehensive breast cancer services to Sligo.

To engage in consultation with stakeholders to address the patient safety issues highlighted by the Health Information and Quality Authority, and where these deficiencies are highlighted that they would be addressed to ensure acute services and accident and emergency services are provided in a safe manner.

To immediately publish the details of which hospitals around the country are to have reduced A&E services or no services at all.