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Dublin: 14°C Wednesday 27 October 2021

'You'll all be needing healthcare': Taoiseach, Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams got excited in the Dáil

They were all told to calm down by the Ceann Comhairle.

THERE WERE HOT and heavy scenes in the Dáil today as the Taoiseach got a grilling from his Opposition counterparts about the current hospital crisis.

Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams used Leaders’ Questions to ask Enda Kenny about what he plans to do following two worrying media reports this morning.

Martin read out extracts of a letter from an emergency department doctor, published in the Irish Independent, which likened Beaumont Hospital to a ‘healthcare Guantanamo’.

Martin said the doctor told senior management and the HSE’s chief Tony O’Brien in December that the department was “the most dangerous unit” in which he had ever worked.

In a usual tactic, Kenny attempted to turn the tables on Martin, noting that this was not the first letter he had seen from a doctor “over the years”.

“It is not an acceptable situation,” he conceded, before repeating some of the plans Minister for Health Leo Varadkar outlined this morning.

“The Minister commented himself about when he was working as a young doctor in Beaumont, the situation was equally bad… when there was a helluva lot more money.

If money was the solution to the problems, then it would have been sorted long ago. You had some responsibility for that yourself where it didn’t work out.

That wasn’t to be the end of the healthcare chat, though.

Gerry Adams had another damning media report up his sleeve.

The Sinn Féin president said patients and their families would be shocked by a leaked draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General which showed claims for five-star hotels, alcohol and other excesses by HSE managers.

Adams also criticised the decision to rehire a retired employee on a six-hour weekly contract for a salary of €156,000.

On phrasing his question, Adams asked the Taoiseach to “refrain from smart alec remarks”.

Kenny said that if the C&AG report found unacceptable spending by HSE management, then “monies paid in the wrong should be paid back”.

“That’s a draft report, obviously the HSE has to answer to the CNAG for this.

Then, turning on Martin once more, Kenny said: “You sir, refuse to accept responsibility for spending 16,000 billion in public funds… Disgraceful.”

Martin, for his part, didn’t seem too fussed.

micheal martin

As the Taoiseach got into his praise of Varadkar and Reilly for their attempts to tackle the crisis, the shouting by surrounding deputies drowned him out.


Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett tried to bring some order to affairs, telling his colleagues, “You’ll all be needed healthcare if you keep that excited”.

However, they didn’t stop and the Taoiseach’s answer to Deputy Tom Fleming’s question about marginal land was interrupted so often, the Kerry TD had to ask:

“Did the Taoiseach answer the question or not?”

To that, an exasperated Ceann Comhairle said he was trying his best.

“I can’t physically go down and restrain them.

“They ain’t doing themselves any favours. The public get on to my office complaining bitterly. They are seen and they are heard. They are not doing themselves any good.”

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