Taoiseach says resources available to halt gangland crime
Tánaiste calls for a full cabinet minister to deal with primary care issues in health
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald set out his party’s plans for the justice system. Phoitograph: Collins
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has moved to reassure the public that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan will be given the resources to combat gangland crime after two murders in Dublin in the past week.
“I deplore the death threats to reporters. This is absolutely scandalous and will not be tolerated by government in any respect,” said Mr Kenny speaking in Cork where, together with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, he set out his party’s plans for the justice system.
The Taoiseach refused to be drawn on the sentencing adjournment for Thomas Slab Murphy at the Special Criminal Court. But he again criticised Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams for urging abolition of the juryless court.
“Deputy Adams thinks there is no gangland crime anywhere. His attempt to justify the abolition of the Offences Against the State Act and the abolition of the Special Criminal Court yesterday just doesn’t stand up,” said Mr Kenny.
Earlier Labour leader Joan Burton launched the party’s healthcare plan where she pledged the appointment of a full Cabinet minister with the Department of Health to deal with primary-care issues if it is returned to government
“In the past the development of primary care has played second fiddle to the challenges of the acute hospital system. I am determined that that will change and I believe having a dedicated cabinet minister will be an important step in making that change,” she said.
Ms Burton also criticised Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin over his performance as minister for health. She said he he always seemed to be “just one report away from a perfect HSE” despite the fact that government resources were much more plentiful at the time.
Ms Burton was accompanied by Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch who took issue with a comment made by Mr Martin who said the coalition government’s worst mistake in health was appointing James Reilly as minister for health.
“I think it’s beneath Michéal Martin to make comments like that because he didn’t cover himself in glory when he was minister for health. He had 120 reports; he had more publications at the time than Rupert Murdoch, ” said Ms Lynch.
“We are all doing our best. We came into government at a time when this country was five weeks away from being declared bankrupt and Michéal Martin was a leading player in the government that brought us to that point.”
Mr Kenny and Ms Burton later met in Cork when Mr Kenny turned the sod to mark the start of work on a €50 million Cork Event Centre on the site of the former Beamish & Crawford Brewery on South Main Street in the city centre.
Mr Kenny had to brave a small but vocal protest by anti-water charges and anti-austerity campaigners who confronted him as he walked from a visit to the Capitol Complex.