Tuesday 23 January 2018

First crack? 'This is not something we support' - Fianna Fáil to oppose 'HSE dismantling' plans

Fianna Fail's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fail's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath Photo: Tom Burke
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

The HSE is set to become Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's first test in their minority government arrangement.

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said the government's plan to "dismantle the HSE structure" is "not something Fianna Fáil supports".

The Cork South-Central TD was speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, in response to reports the government is planning to abolish the Health Service Executive and replace it with a new health commission.

"We have reached an agreement with Fine Gael, where certain Fianna Fáil proposals will be put ahead," Mr McGrath said.

"Our facilitation of the government, our agreement to allow budges to go through and to not bring down the government essentially... that all depends on the key policies being implemented over the next few years.

"We are part of the government but we are in opposition," he added.

Mr McGrath said Fianna Fáil are pushing for a multi-year budget that would facilitate long-term planning in the Department of Health and HSE, but that dismantling the system is not part of their plan.

"[Abolishing the HSE] is something we heard about five years ago as well and nothing happened," he said.

"It's all very fine to say let's abolish and dismantle the HSE but what do you replace it with?

"So that is not something that Fianna Fáil supports.

"We want to see a national public health service, a multi-year budget from the Department of Health and the HSE.

"We specifically agreed with Fine Gael that multi-year budgeting would allow for longer term planning.

"A public health service in Ireland is something that has merit and something we can support."

Mr McGrath also told the programme he is hoping to remain in the position of Finance Spokesperson.

According to the Irish Times, the new programme for government details how the HSE will be dismantled and hospital services will be run by statutory trusts which will manage their own assets, recruitment and staff.

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