Kenny accused of 'crocodile tears' over trolley crisis
Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of "crying crocodile tears for a long time" about the numbers of people on trolleys in hospital emergency departments.
Fianna Fáil said that both the Taoiseach and Health Minister Leo Varadkar have not gotten to grips with the crisis.
Their health spokesman, Billy Kelleher, welcomed the last-minute deal to prevent work stoppages at seven hospitals but said the threat of industrial action was "borne out of fear and frustration".
"Fear for patient safety and dignity of patients that attend our emergency departments, and frustration that this Government has not got to grips with the challenges being faced everyday in our emergency departments," he said.
Mr Kelleher said the Taoiseach had repeatedly cried "crocodile tears" in the Dáil and that Mr Varadkar had lowered his targets for waiting times.
"So we have a minister who is lacking ambition in terms of the health services, maybe he has ambitions elsewhere," he added, alluding to speculation that Mr Varadkar would like to be leader of the Fine Gael party.
"The agreement may go some way to addressing some of the issues that the INMO had with regard to retention and recruitment, but there is a larger issue at play here," Mr Kelleher said.
In the Dáil, Mr Kenny said: "The Government recognises that working in emergency departments can be a very trying and difficult job.
"Recruiting and retaining staff is always a challenge.
"I hope the nurses and unions will vote in favour of the package agreed at the Workplace Relations."