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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C

As it happened: Maternity hospital on agenda as TDs return from Easter break

An Taoiseach has been answering questions around who will own the National Maternity Hospital.

Enda Kenny Oireachtas TV Oireachtas TV

ENDA KENNY IS due to fly out to Canada to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tomorrow.

But before he does, he faced a grilling by the opposition over the National Maternity Hospital debacle, and public sector pay… and cataract treatments in Co Kerry.

Here’s what happened.

lq 2 Oireachtas TV Oireachtas TV

Micheál Martin kicks Leaders’ Questions off with the big issue of the past week: the new National Maternity Hospital.

He said that An Taoiseach was like “a rabbit caught in headlights” when the issue came to the fore a week ago, despite the deal being done months ago.

He asks the Taoiseach to confirm that the hospital will have complete clinical independence, and whether the Sisters of Charity will have a majority on the board.

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Enda Kenny confirms that there will be clinical independence at the new hospital, that the Sisters of Charity won’t have a majority on the board… but said that there was a grey area around ownership.

He adds that health minister Simon Harris is looking into all the options surrounding the new maternity hospital to try and find a solution.

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Gerry Adams is asking questions on the subject of Garda Tony Golden, killed by Adrian Crevan Mackin in October 2015.

There’s been recent suggestions that Mackin was a garda informant.

Adams says he wrote to GSOC, the garda commissioner, the Tánaiste and An Taoiseach, but he’s only received a response from one person – Enda Kenny.

Adams says he submitted a complaint to GSOC and that it hasn’t been acted upon.

He asked for an inquiry into the incident. Kenny said that an investigation is ongoing and a final report is expected upon its completion.

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Labour leader Brendan Howlin’s up.

He’s asking about workers’ pay and pensions, not surprisingly.

He asks ‘What exactly is the government’s position on pension rights?’

He says that back in December, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said that the value of Public Service Pensions “has increased in recent years and this is why a report on the issue is so important”.

He added that media reports of what the report contains are “writings that no member of the government has seen”. The report, when it’s completed, will be published, debated and voted on, Kenny said.

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Danny Healy-Rae is demanding more funding for health services for people in Kerry (his constituency), listing three cases where people don’t have access to adequate services.

People are waiting for treatment for the eye condition cataracts two to three years, he says.

“A man perfect in every way,” he told the Dáil, “Can’t use his car anymore, because he feels it’s not safe to drive, and feels his car is parked forever.

A 70-year-old disabled man, had to sell his vintage car for €4,500. He’d been waiting for a year and a half for treatment and couldn’t see.

So he had to sell his car to go private to get his sight back in a reasonable way.

“Another man waited two years before he got one eye done, he can’t seen anything out of the other one and is very depressed.”

He mentioned orthodontic services for teenagers can take up to 4-5 years before they’re treated, and there are serious support gaps for those who need home help.

“There’s no home help support at the weekends, and this weekend people went three days without home help.

“People don’t get better at the weekend, they don’t just get up like Lazarus, they need proper funding for the weekend as well.”

Enda Kenny says Co Kerry isn’t the only area that has healthcare waiting-list problems, and says that he’ll supply the TD with figures on funding for Kerry’s healthcare services.

“I don’t want anymore figures from you,” Healy-Rae said at the end of a fiery speech, bringing LQs to a close.

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