Fianna Fáil Party Whip and TD for Cork North-West, Michael Moynihan has said Minister Zappone has been completely invisible throughout the various crisis relating to children in Ireland in 2019.
Deputy Moynihan said that while the Minister was not directly responsible for the health, disability or housing briefs, she did have a responsibility to children as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and that she needs to do more than just commentate on issues.
He explained, “I have listened on various occasions in the Dáil as Minister Zappone takes questions and I have found her responses as those akin to a political commentator, not a Minister with direct oversight on policy and decision making.
“It’s very easy for Government Ministers to behave as though their respective portfolios are silos. It’s this hands-off approach that results in children such as Sam eating his dinner on a piece of cardboard late at night on Grafton Street or children with disabilities waiting up to four years receive the appropriate interventions.
“Minister Zappone is a senior Government Minister, she sits week after week at the cabinet table with the Minister for Housing, the Minister for Health and the Minister for Disabilities, yet her role in tackling the soaring rates of child homelessness and the ever-increasing child waiting lists for basic physical and mental healthcare is non-existent.
“Minister Zappone has responsibility for the protection of children in this country, the book stops with her and yet as sure as night follows day, I predict that whoever is in these Houses in 25 years’ time will have to apologise for what is going on now in terms of services being provided for children”, he concluded.