MacSharry wants health officials to apologise


STEPS SHOULD be taken to prevail on two senior officials to apologise to the Irish people for the “flippant and disrespectful way” in which they had addressed the Dáil Public Accounts Committee last Tuesday, Fianna Fáil health spokesman Marc MacSharry said.

Party colleague Jim Walsh said that how people like that got to these positions must raise questions about the whole selection and recruitment processes within our public services.

Mr MacSharry said what had been witnessed at the PAC meeting was an affront to the Oireachtas, the political system and, ultimately, the people of Ireland. Two individuals whose combined salaries amounted to almost €400,000 a year had tried to manipulate a process in advance of a committee hearing to give information they chose to disclose but not information that was being sought. Their attitude was “Look, lads, we run the health service and we’ll let you know what we want you to know when we want you to know it.” That was unacceptable behaviour, and it was imperative that Minister for Health James Reilly be required to make a statement on it, Mr MacSharry said.

It was highly likely that the HSE cost overrun would reach €500 million, said Mr MacSharry. Politicians had learned from RTÉ, not the people who supposedly ran the health service, that Tallaght hospital was getting a €12 million overdraft. Who would fund the many other hospitals with substantial over-runs, he wondered. The overall deficit was growing at €45 million a month. “We have a Minister in absolute denial who continues with his headless chicken approach to the management of the finances of the HSE,” Mr MacSharry said.

Calling for a debate on what constituted good governance, Jim Walsh said they had seen an example of appalling governance at the PAC meeting.