Tender for Halligan's mobile cath lab due to be issued next week
The Government has been left open to renewed accusations of supporting parish pump politics after the HSE confirmed it will begin the process to secure a new mobile cath lab for University Hospital Waterford.
The chief of the HSE, Tony O'Brien, said approval had been given by the Government to go ahead with the tender for a mobile lab, an alternative to the permanent facility originally demanded by Waterford Independent Alliance Minister John Halligan.
Mr O'Brien described it as a "ministerial priority".
It comes just days after Mr Halligan's colleague, Transport Minister Shane Ross, secured the reopening of Stepaside garda station in his constituency - one of his key demands for entering Government.
The cath lab, which is key to the care of heart patients, was Mr Halligan's main demand for his support of the Government.
However, an independent report, commissioned by the Department of Health, said there was no need for a second lab in Waterford, leading to a threat by Mr Halligan in September 2016 that he would resign.
Earlier this year, cardiologists in Waterford made a business case for a mobile unit and approval in principle was given.
The matter was raised at the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday.
Mr O'Brien said a tender for the mobile lab would be triggered next week.
This means a private provider will bring the facility and staff on site.