Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology and R&D James Lawless has hit out at Minister John Halligan saying the Waterford TD has completely neglected his national responsibilities.  Deputy Lawless is calling on the Minister to focus and get on with the job he was tasked with doing on behalf of the country.

“Ever since his appointment Minister Halligan has lurched from one crisis to the next. He discarded collective Cabinet responsibility before the Dáil recess over the vote on fatal foetal abnormalities and now he is threatening to resign over issues at Waterford University Hospital.  While there is no doubt that the issues facing Waterford hospital are important, it’s time for Minister Halligan to realise he is a Government Minister and also has national responsibilities”, explained Deputy Lawless.

“The multinational technology sector is of vital strategic interest to Ireland and with the recent Apple controversy, now more than ever the sector needs a strong champion at Government level. Minister Halligan has so far failed to take any real interest in his portfolio and is ignoring a vital economic sector.

“The third level sector is key to ensuring a well-educated and skilled workforce into the future; however the latest university rankings show all of the top Irish colleges falling down the list.  This is a major cause for concern. We need to make sure that we are producing highly skilled STEM graduates to cater for our dynamic science and technology sectors, in order to protect the reputation that we have earned on the international stage.

“Agencies like Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA are doing trojan work in attracting, training and retaining world class individuals but they need to know the support is there from government.

“As Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Science, Technology, and Research & Development, I have spent the summer meeting these agencies and research institutions to fully understand the challenges they face. Meanwhile, the Minister was talking to pop culture magazines about his views on extra-terrestrial life forms.  The time has come for him to start taking his responsibilities as a Minister seriously”.