Honesty needed to win back confidence in health system - archbishop
Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has said confidence in the health system has been tested and only openness and honesty about what has gone wrong will win that confidence back.
Speaking at Corpus Christi Parish Church in Drumcondra for World Day of the Sick, Dr Martin said: "Ireland can and should have a world-class healthcare system. We have to get on with that."
However, he stressed that "people want to know honestly why things go wrong and when all is not all right".
He warned that the answers will not come from "polemics".
The gathering at the Dublin church included those who are sick and those who work alongside the sick.
The archbishop said they were coming together at a time "when confidence in our national healthcare system is tested in many ways".
Separately, at St Macartan's Cathedral in Monaghan, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, described the country as being at a "very difficult juncture" over the health crisis.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said: "People want to be cared for. They want a Government and the health service to look after their needs, particularly when they are vulnerable and sick."
He described himself as "extremely grateful" to all those "who work in our hospitals, caring agencies looking after the sick at home, and in nursing homes and hospices".
Acknowledging that it was very difficult for him to speak into a political situation, he added: "Alongside everyone in the country I would implore all those who have the facilities to make things better to do their very best, particularly for health."
He highlighted that as today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, it was a day when the Catholic Church prayed for the sick.
"It is a day when we not just pray for the sick, but we work to give them the very best dignity that we can," he said.
Speaking in Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin said: "Care of the sick is something that involves all of society.
"It involves community and a special form of community that feels the call to be with the sick and to give them something of ourselves and to learn something from them."
He said on World Day of the Sick, Christians are called on not just to hold a prayer service, but to "reach out to the sick who so often suffer as much from loneliness than from their specific illness".