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'Taoiseach, you will say anything to get elected, the truth does not matter'

Enda Kenny faced a grilling today during Leaders’ Questions.

THE TAOISEACH FACED a grilling from opposition leaders today over the government’s plans to scrap universal health insurance in its current form.

The ESRI found the cost of the healthcare plan per adult would have been in the region of €2,500, pushing up the State’s spend in the health sector by 11%.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar this morning has ruled out this funding model, and said it’s back to the drawing board to find a more suitable way of providing care ‘based on need rather than income’.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin was pulling no punches today during Leaders’ Questions when he told the Dáil that “the truth simply does not matter” to Enda Kenny.

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You will say anything, Taoiseach, to get elected. You will say anything to cover up something. You will deny reality and the truth when it stares you in the face. Language means nothing to you. You break promise after promise, believing media management will take care of anything.

He highlighted UHI as an example of this, having been a cornerstone of Fine Gael health policy.

How did you get it so wrong and make such a mess of this?

Kenny said the government remains committed to ending the two-tier health system and implementing universal healthcare funded by the UHI model.

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He added that the government is taking on board the advice of the ESRI, a move that is “far from ignoring the truth and ignoring reality”.

Gerry Adams chose the topic of UHI for Sinn Féin’s question as well, also noting how health was a key part of the Fine Gael’s “notorious” five-point plan (or as Adams called it, the five-point sham).

This included plans for UHI as well commitments to free GP for all, an end to prescription charges, and the abolition of the HSE.

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“None of this has happened,” Adams noted, “And none of this will happen.”

Your government is responsible for a health system in complete chaos.

His choice of what action would be appropriate was clear:

Taoiseach, will you resign?

“You ask me to resign every couple of months,” Kenny said.

He went on to add: “I don’t know whether you’ve met any parents of any child under six who says to you, ‘You know what, the introduction of free GP care is a very good thing for our children’.”

He also highlighted the construction of new primary care centres and a reduction in Fair Deal scheme waiting lists.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier today, Varadkar explained that UHI is unlikely to be implemented even by the end of the next government.

The next stage will be putting the building blocks in place over the coming years for a system of ‘quality healthcare that everyone can afford’, he said, to allow the introduction of whatever the alternative will be to UHI.

Read: Is Leo feeling the effects of ‘poison chalice’ he was handed? >

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Nicky Ryan

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