Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD, has responded to the news that Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch announced the identity of a new Mental Health Director on national radio, before the HSE were forced to issue a statement hours later distancing itself and confirming that no appointment has in fact taken place.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “This is an embarrassing gaffe for the Minister who has named an individual as the Mental Health Director before, we have to assume, the individual was offered or accepted the role. The fact that the HSE was forced into the highly unusual step of publicly correcting the Minister suggests that the recruitment process is on-going. We can only hope that the Minister’s intervention has not exposed the Public Appointment Service to any liability.
“Unfortunately, today’s gaffe was an inevitable consequence of the approach of this Government – no matter how big or small any issue is, the first priority is not the substance of the issue but the need to quickly try and find some PR spin that suggests a Government taking action.
“So, in a discussion about the Government’s failure to fulfil its promises and take appropriate action on the mental health crisis in the country, the Minister reaches for a defence and ends up announcing an appointment that hasn’t taken place yet, possibly compromising the individual involved and undermining the appointment process.
“We have seen evidence of this approach many times. Whether it is the Tánaiste claiming credit for the outcome of talks he was not a party to, or the Minister for Health ignoring the reality in hospitals to claim victory over waiting lists, it is a pattern which is wearing thin with the public.”