Halligan - criticism of government indecision on appeal is 'very unfair'
Published 05/09/2016 | 02:30
Independent minister John Halligan has said criticisms of Cabinet indecision on the Apple ruling and claims that the minority Government is unstable are "very unfair".
The Fine Gael-led minority Government took three days to agree that the EU's ruling should be appealed. A number of Independents, including Mr Halligan, have expressed reservations on the plan.
Junior Skills and Training Minister Mr Halligan said of the criticism: "I think it's very unfair. It's been extremely difficult for some of us. We've come under horrendous attack in our own constituencies for going into government."
He added: "The easiest thing for us to do would have been to sit back in opposition and criticise... but we made a decision that somebody had to do it (form a government)."
Mr Halligan pointed out that he had ideological differences with Fine Gael and backing the Government over issues such as Irish Water and Apple had been difficult for him and his supporters.
But he had been "honourable" with the Government and expected the same when it comes to his demand that cardiac services at his local hospital be improved. He added: "I think we should give this Government some time."
The left-wing TD secured a commitment in the Programme for Government that there would be an independent clinical review of a second catheterisation laboratory at Waterford Regional Hospital.
He expected the review to be concluded as early as this week.
A report in a Sunday newspaper quoted a letter sent to the HSE by Galway cardiac consultant Professor Kieran Daly, in which he said that Mr Halligan was wrong to compare the needs in Waterford to the Mater and St James's hospitals in Dublin. Prof Daly said each hospital had "at least twice the activity of Waterford".
Mr Halligan last night insisted that the 500,000 population in the south-east meant that 24-hour cardiac services and a second catheterisation lab were necessary.
"All the facts and figures are there for Waterford. There's no question," he said, adding that his view was supported by consultants in his home city.
Mr Halligan is to meet health minister Simon Harris to discuss the matter this week.