Varadkar objects when Martin claims he had ‘screwed’ hospice sector

Taoiseach claims FF leader used word ‘unbecoming’ of his office

“There is no point in coming in here saying we all support hospices when you screwed them,’’ said Micheál Martin to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil. Photograph: Alan Betson

“There is no point in coming in here saying we all support hospices when you screwed them,’’ said Micheál Martin to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has accused the Fianna Fáil leader of using language “unbecoming’’ of his office in sharp Dáil exchanges.

Micheál Martin had raised the issue of pay restoration for those working in the hospice sector and was dissatisfied with the Taoiseach’s reply.

“There is no point in coming in here saying we all support hospices when you screwed them,’’ said Mr Martin.

“That is what you have been doing for the past six months…that is just utterly dishonest.’’

Mr Varadkar said: “I think that sort of language used in a parliamentary chamber is unbecoming of your office as leader of the Opposition.”

He said the Ceann Comhairle might wish to examine if the word Mr Martin had used was considered to be unparliamentary.

Earlier, Mr Martin said it surprised him the Government and Minister for Health Simon Harris were stonewalling on the kind of pay restoration for those working in the hospice movement similar to that enjoyed by public servants.

Mr Varadkar said the matter had been discussed at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting and he had asked Mr Harris and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to examine the issue and come up with a solution.

It had to be determined whether the increase in block grants covered pay restoration in the hospice sector, he added.