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Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
St Vincent's

Taoiseach accused of 'insulting' morbidly obese people

Kenny faced questions from the opposition benches over a decision to suspend gastric band operations at a hospital.

Updated 4.43pm

THE TAOISEACH HAS been accused of “insulting those who are morbidly obese” Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

Enda Kenny faced a line of questioning from the deputy over the HSE’s decision to suspend gastric band operations at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Despite a waiting of list of as many as 200 people, Deputy Martin said, just 20 operations were carried out.

The Taoiseach said it was an issue of “not having the money to do all things you might like to right now”.

He suggested alternative treatment can be provided to patients in the meantime, and that ‘prevention is better than a cure’, something which Martin branded as “insulting those who are morbidly obese”.

“You don’t get that this is a life-saving operation, this isn’t a lifestyle choice,” Martin said.

It’s actually an urgent, essential surgical intervention to prevent loss of life.

He said that obese people are subject to ‘the last acceptable form of discrimination’.

The Taoiseach defended the decision, citing that if more operations were to take place, funds would have to be taken from other life-saving services, and said he assumed the clinicians involved prioritised what patients needed the operation first. Deputy Michael Martin speaking this afternoon.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams questioned the Taoiseach on an upcoming report on the circumstances surrounding two Roma children being taken into State care by gardaí.

They were later returned to their families after it was proved that they were their own.

“I do apologise to those families and in particular the children who had to put up with these event,” the Taoiseach said.

“This should not have happened to this family or any other family in this jurisdiction”.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy also posed queries to the Taoiseach over Irish Water charges, questioning where funding for investment in water services is to come from if charges ‘barely cover operational costs’.

The Taoiseach stressed said that Irish Water is not a “runaway train”, and that pipelines will be improved to stop Ireland “lagging behind” other countries where it comes to water services.

Originally published 4.08pm

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