Shortall receives backing after resignation


SEANAD:SEVERAL LABOUR members expressed support for Róisín Shortall following her resignation as minister of state for health.

Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik said she respected Ms Shortall’s integrity, that there was no doubt she had immense grassroots support within the party and that she represented Labour values. Within the party, people appreciated the stance she had taken on what Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar had described as the appearance of a stroke in the siting of primary health care centres in Minister for Health James Reilly’s constituency.

Denis Landy said Dr Reilly should explain to the House why, after 18 months in Government, no progress had been made on the provision of universal healthcare and primary healthcare facilities, and when these would be rolled out.

John Whelan said that Ms Shortall had stood up for the Republic in her recent Dáil speech on her vision for the provision of healthcare.

Dr Reilly had told the Seanad last Wednesday that there had been no cuts to home helps or carers. “If the Minister is of that view, then this Government is totally detached from the reality on the ground.”

Meanwhile, a claim by Jim Walsh (FF) that there were well-known abortion advocates on the expert group examining the legal situation in this country on this matter was criticised by Ivana Bacik (Lab). Ms Bacik accused Mr Walsh of making unfounded allegations about individuals.

Leas Cathaoirleach Denis O’Donovan (FF) said he thought his party colleague was out of order in directing his comment at potentially identifiable individuals. Seanad leader Maurice Cummins (FG) said that calling people abortion advocates was reprehensible.

Mr Walsh: “Senator Bacik knows who they are.”