Kenny calls for Harney dismissal


Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny today said that the Minister for Health should be sacked unless she withdrew her 'outrageous calim' that doctors and nurses were victimising children through cutbacks.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Kenny demanded the Taoiseach take action over what he branded a direct attack on medics at Ireland’s largest children’s hospital.

During a heated debate on Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin,last night, Mary Harney suggested hospitals were making cutbacks in the most sensitive areas when asked to make savings.

Mr Kenny said the remarks were effectively an accusation that doctors and nurses were targeting sick children.

“Do you believe and accept the statement made by your Minister for Health last night that doctors and nurses are effectively victimising children with serious illness in the interests of saving money?” he asked the Taoiseach.

“And if you don’t believe that, will you ask the Minister for Health to withdraw that outrageous attack or remove her from her position?”

But Mr Cowen defended Ms Harney, insisting she did not say what was being claimed.

The Taoiseach said the Minister for Health was urging all hospital managers to be more efficient with their strained budgets.

During the debate in the Dail, Ms Harney said: “I find it strange that when we ask hospitals to make efficiency savings, some hospitals decide that the most sensitive area is the area that should be cut first.”

The Taoiseach said the Minister for Health was simply trying to outline the excellent service at the Crumlin hospital and the need for cost savings.

Mr Kenny said the blame for health service cutbacks could not be laid with doctors and nurses but were the fault of a bureaucratic monster created by Mr Cowen and Ms Harney.

Additional reporting: PA