Fianna Fáil Frontbench Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has said that the Taoiseach’s flippant comments about health workers and Christmas and New Year leave are completely consistent with his modus operandi of blaming others for his, and his government’s failings in health.

Deputy Kelleher who was Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson while Mr Varadkar held the position of Minister for Health was commenting after the Taoiseach’s comments in the Dáil yesterday where he directed that no doctors, nurses and back up staff should be allowed to take holidays in the first two weeks of the New Year.

“The Taoiseach’s comments were flippant and insensitive to those who work in the public health service and who go above and beyond the call of duty every Christmas and indeed throughout the year. They were however completely consistent with how Leo Varadkar has conducted himself throughout his ministerial career.

“Indeed while he was Minister for Health and I faced him directly across the floor of the Dáil, I observed that he had sought to present himself as a commentator on the chaos in his department rather accept any responsibility for being the person in charge.

“Just minutes before his comments seeking to blame staff, the Taoiseach confirmed that the HSE is not attempting to implement a Winter Initiative this year because of the failure of previous initiatives.

“If I was cynical, I’d wonder whether the Taoiseach actually made these flippant remarks in an effort to distract from his admission that he and his government have no ideas on how to deal with ED overcrowding.

“Instead of trying to scapegoat our health workers, the Taoiseach, his Minister for Health and HSE senior management need to look at themselves and what they have, and have not delivered.

“Sooner or later the penny will drop that it’s not good enough for the Taoiseach to conduct himself as if he was a radio chat show panellist. He is the Leader of the Irish Government and is responsible for the policy direction and outcomes of his Cabinet,” concluded Kelleher.