ALTHOUGH LABOUR BACKBENCHERS have made their feelings on proposed Health Service Executive cuts known, many say they will vote for Minister James Reilly in any motion of confidence.
Labour Party chairman Colm Keaveney told Morning Ireland he has confidence that the Health Minister will review the €130 million in cuts “with a view of protecting the most vulnerable people in society”. The Galway East TD believes it is premature to suggest that the proposals are a “fait accompli”.
“I’m an optimist in that I am fully confident that we can resolve these matters to ensure the proposals as presented to not proceed.”
He added that he will not be supporting any Fianna Fáil motion in respect of confidence “because Minister Reilly has been elected to address the institutionalised defective system that he has inherited from the proposers of the motion”.
“I think Fianna Fáil continue to do a disservice to politics by proposing such a motion that deflects from the core issue here”.
The two main opposition parties have confirmed their intentions to table such a motion when the Dáil returns from its summer recess in two weeks’ time.
Waterford backbencher Ciara Conway echoed her party chairman’s opinions on the move by Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.
“I think that it is a deflection of the issue,” she said. “It is politics at its most unattractive…window dressing to what is going on here.”
However, she also showed her dismay at the €130 million in cuts, announced by the HSE last week, which will impact frontline services such as Home Helps and Personal Assistants for the sick and elderly.
“What I fail to reconcile is that…it is actually more cost effective – both socially and financially – to look after people in their own home,” she said. “Why are we going after this in particular?”
Dublin South Central’s Michael Conaghan also expressed his desire for Cabinet to withdraw the latest round of cuts, stating that “unilateral decisions are not wise”.
He added that he would be “very sceptical” of the motion of confidence, describing it as “playing politics”.
Meath East’s Dominic Hannigan was more sympathetic to Reilly because of the “difficult job” is he doing at the moment.
“There is no money to spare,” he told Morning Ireland. “We can’t take money from the education sector because that has a very tight budget. We can’t take it from the social welfare because that’s got a tight budget. It is a difficult circumstance that we are in.”
“I will be voting in favour of Minister Reilly. He has a difficult job to do…let him get on with it.”