Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has called on the Health Minister to spell out what strategy and resources are in place to safeguard the HSE IT systems in light of the recent cyber-attacks on the NHS in the UK, and on other service providers across Europe.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after it became known that three Irish hospitals were attacked over the weekend.

“We cannot have a situation where the HSE could potentially be held to ransom over access to critically important services and facilities through a concerted and targetted attack on their networks.

“The implications of such an attack are deeply worrying. Our health system is in a fragile enough state as it is. We cannot allow such an attack to happen, and possibly disrupt it even further.

“Any attack could lead to Emergency Departments, or even whole hospitals being closed, cancellation of outpatient and inpatient appointments, or chaos in the National Ambulance Service. In Northern Ireland, we have seen lifesaving operations being cancelled as a result of these cyber-attacks.

“The Irish people need to hear from Minister Harris and he needs to explain what is being done and will be done to protect us from such an attack”, concluded Kelleher.