Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has today challenged the Taoiseach in the Dáil on his claim that he has established ‘Transition Teams’ across Government to manage the departure of large numbers of public servants and has branded the assertion, made under questioning during a weekend media interview, “a figment of the Taoiseach’s imagination”.
Deputy Martin commented, “The public sector in this country provides critically important services to tens of thousands of families all over the country. The departure of large numbers of staff from the public sector, necessary to help the country balance its books, was always going to be a threat to those services unless the process was properly managed.
“The Government has been aware of the threat for a year now and has had ample opportunity to prepare properly. Based on the half answers and contradictory statements of the last week, it is increasingly clear that the Government has completely failed to get ready for this exodus.
“At the weekend, under close media questioning about what plans were in place, the Taoiseach pulled from his hat a system of ‘Transition Teams’ that were doing the necessary planning work and would ensure that frontline services would remain unaffected. Unfortunately, the only developments since this announcement has been confirmation from Minister Reilly that operations are being pulled and therefore waiting lists will grow. Minister Shatter confirms that he will appoint replacements to just half of the outstanding senior Gardaí vacancies. Families all over the country miss medical treatment because medical cards cannot be processed. And a maternity hospital in Limerick worries how it is to cope with the absence of 12 midwives, even after redeployment.
“The Taoiseach was unable to answer any of my points today and unwilling to repeat his sweeping statement that Transition Teams were in place. In light of the mounting evidence, it is clear that these Transition Teams are a figment of the Taoiseach’s imagination. Rather than focus on managing his Government’s PR, the Taoiseach would be better employed making sure that plans are actually in place and that the public does not suffer as a result of his failure to properly plan for the new civil servant numbers.”