Wednesday 13 December 2017

Change laws to sack under-performing HSE bosses, Health Minister told

Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photo: Tom Burke

Philip Ryan and Niall O'Connor

FINE Gael politicians have launched an extraordinary attack on the HSE, accusing the state body of failing patients and their families and suffering from a complete lack of authority.

During an emotional meeting at Leinster House, former Health Minister James Reilly called for the law to be changed so that HSE bosses can be fired if they fail to properly perform their duties.

His successor Simon Harris - who has been at the eye of a storm following this week’s RTÉ documentary - told the parliamentary party meeting that he intends to “shine a light on management in the HSE”.

He agreed that if HSE managers are not up to their job, they will be removed. Members expressed their support for the minister’s bid to end waiting lists.

Sources present at the meeting said a number of members, including deputies Fergus O’Dowd, Tom Neville and senator Jerry Buttimer, raised poignant health stories relating to their constituencies.

Mr O’Dowd, a TD for Louth, highlighted a tragic case in which a person suffered a perinatal death.

He told colleagues that the family is now pushing for a third inquiry and that it must be separate from the HSE.

But after party chairman Martin Heydon tried to interrupt because Mr O’Dowd was veering onto another topic, he replied angrily: “You may be chairman of the party, but you’ll end up as chairman of the county council if you’re not careful.”

Towards the end of the meeting, Carlow/Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan threatened to quit from the Dáil over proposed boundary changes.

Changes reported in recent months suggest that part of Kilkenny will be moved into the neighbouring Waterford constituency.

During a heated contribution, Mr Phelan said he felt he had been lied to over the issue and that he is considering his position.

Online Editors

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