Varadkar blasts SF's 'barmy' policies
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has poured scorn on the Opposition's pre-Budget submissions, describing Sinn Fein's as "barmy".
He claimed that Fianna Fail had failed to factor in any provision for the Lansdowne Road Agreement while Sinn Fein's plan to cut pay for hospital consultants represented "barmy left-wing policies".
Mr Varadkar said Fianna Fail "must come clean" on why it didn't allow €100m in its submission for 100,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to get pay increases signed off on in the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
"They are entitled to this after seven years of pay freezes and pay cuts largely caused by Fianna Fail mismanagement.
"Pay restoration will also help us to become more competitive with other countries when it comes to recruiting essential staff.
"Fianna Fail must come clean. Do they intend to renege on the pay agreement or did they just get their sums woefully wrong?"
In his scorching denunciation of Sinn Fein, Mr Varadkar derided its plan to recruit more than 250 hospital consultants for less pay.
"The difficulty in recruiting consultants is well known, caused in part by competition on pay with other English-speaking countries. This year we are seeing the tide turn," said Mr Varadkar. "Sinn Fein's barmy left-wing policies will jeopardise all of that."
Fianna Fail's spokesman on health, Billy Kelleher, said his party was fully committed to the Lansdowne Road agreement, adding: "The real issue in health is the gross mismanagement of the department under Leo Varadkar."