Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I wish the Taoiseach had addressed my question quicker and not given me a history lesson. I have all of the documentation here. I have raised this issue repeatedly. The Taoiseach is telling me that contracted documents have been exchanged. During last year, I was told twice that they had been exchanged. We are now in receipt of a letter from the consultant orthopaedic surgeon telling us that 1,500 patients are waiting for complex joint replacements, spinal surgery, and foot, ankle and shoulder surgery, while the waiting list continues to expand exponentially. That is the situation; chronic and acute pain is being suffered by these patients, yet the Taoiseach stands there telling me that contract documents are going to be exchanged. At the very least I would have expected him to tell me what happened that they were not exchanged last February, which is when we were told they were being exchanged, and at the very least to learn from the children's hospital project and to give us the information having made the inquiries. Last year, the Taoiseach told me that he was not aware of the question and that I had not notified him. I notified him of today's question so that he would not come to the Chamber unprepared and he would have checked the situation. This is unacceptable in a city where the main hospital is creaking at the seams on a congested site, but with a 150-acre site available in Merlin Park. We are going piecemeal and piecemeal, and we cannot even provide modular theatres, which are not the answer. The answer is a new hospital. In the meantime, we would like a little bit of honesty about modular theatres.