Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has called for expenses due to HSE workers to be paid immediately and has challenged the Health Minister James Reilly to back up his claims that he does not approve of the decision.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The public announcement by the HSE that up to €15m in expenses are going to be pushed into 2012 is completely unacceptable and must be reversed. Minister James Reilly’s handwringing and complaints are difficult to accept when you consider that he fired the Board of the HSE and took personal control of its operation as far back as April. Having taken direct control, it is time that he used it and instructed the HSE to pay workers what they are owed.
“I have previously raised in the Dáil the issue of the chaotic command structure in the HSE and confusion between the Minister, his staff and HSE executives that we now see. I expect the Minister for Health to contact the chief executive of the HSE Cathal Magee today and if necessary meet him and the HSE’s director of finance to make it clear to them that this decision is inappropriate and must be reversed.
“Workers in the HSE who have incurred expenses in the course of their normal work are entitled to have their costs paid before Christmas. These workers include those in social work, staff working in child care and inspection services and community services for vulnerable people. Minister Reilly has made strong comments on this issue but crocodile tears are going to help no one. This appears to be a direct challenge to the Minister’s authority over the health service and I am calling on him to take immediate action to ensure this issue is addressed urgently.”