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Leo Varadkar 'will return tomorrow' as Adams accuses him of being AWOL

The Department of Health says that Varadkar has been kept abreast of the situation.

Image: Brian Lawless

THE HEALTH MINISTER will return to Ireland tomorrow as the crisis at emergency departments reaches another record.

With the Dáil not set to resume until next Tuesday, the Department of Health today confirmed to TheJournal.ie that Leo Varadkar is out of the country.

They could not say, however, where he was or whether it was a holiday. However it’s understood the Fine Gael TD is in the United States.

The Department’s spokesperson said that Varadkar has been kept abreast of the situation, with over 600 people now waiting on hospital beds across the country.

Varadkar is expected to publicly address the trolley crisis upon his return tomorrow with a detailed statement planned.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams earlier accused Varadkar of “being AWOL”, saying: “There are now over 80 people lying on trolleys at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

“Meanwhile the Minister for Health appears to be AWOL. This is unacceptable. Minister Varadkar needs to surface and to address this developing crisis with urgency.”

Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said that Varadkar had been “worryingly silent” on the issue.

“The HSE itself has admitted that the crisis is raising concerns over patient safety, but Minister Leo Varadkar has remained worrying silent on the issue,” Kelleher said.

“His only attempt to address the issue has been the establishment of the Emergency Department Taskforce; however a committee which only meets once a month will find it difficult to tackle what has now become a daily crisis.”

Originally published: 17.23

Read: Over 600 patients are waiting for hospital beds around the country

Read: A HSE manager was asked EIGHT TIMES whether hospitals are safe

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