Flanagan accused of 'suicide' comment


A LABOUR member has claimed that Independent TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan had called for a senior Department of Health official to commit suicide.

Mr Flanagan had made the comment at the end of a “rant” during a meeting between Oireachtas members and Minister for Health James Reilly and officials in the department last Friday to discuss the reduction of hours in Roscommon A&E, John Kelly said.

While the Minister had indicated that if junior doctors could be recruited he would put them in place, the Health Information and Quality Authority had hit that idea on the head. When Mr Kelly said he wanted to refer to a comment by Mr Flanagan, Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke told him such matters were not relevant to the order of business.

“He called for the senior official to go and get a rope and commit suicide,” Mr Kelly said. The TD should withdraw what he had said and issue an apology.

Told once more that he was out of order, Mr Kelly said a senior HSE West member had gone to Roscommon last Monday and had stated that not alone was the hospital losing its AE, but it was losing its coronary care and acute surgery service as well.

The Minister must explain the hospital reconfiguration process to the House “and tell us if inappropriate remarks by people are going to affect the future of health services in Roscommon and many other places”.

David Norris (Ind) said he regretted the way the order of business had been used in this instance.

Susan O’Keeffe (Lab) said that even at a time when temperatures were running high, calls for people to hang themselves were absolutely inappropriate.

She agreed that the Minister should give a progress report on the reconfiguration of hospitals.