Thursday, 7 February 2019
Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements
Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
We value our nurses. They are the angels of mercy. They work very hard in conditions so unbearable that they are fleeing the system and country. Many have become ill. However, the Government does not respect them, this House or the electorate. If it did, the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, would have left his position long ago.
I refer to the appalling vista of the children's hospital which is being built in the wrong place, with no co-located maternity hospital and without a helipad. It is a black hole. The Minister, Deputy Harris should see what is at the bottom of the hole. I am told that the concrete base of the hospital is floating. There are issues with drains and open sewers which must be relocated. It is a mess and the Government is digging itself a bigger hole. The Minister has arrogantly attacked the nurses by threatening to dock their pay if they go on strike. However, no pay was docked from anyone involved with the children's hospital. Consultants were paid €80 million to design a mess. The project went out to tender with BAM without a bill of quantities. It is an unmitigated mess. The Minister is incapable of running the HSE. He would not be able to run a sweet shop such as the one that existed in front of Leinster House in the days before the Minister came to the House. If they had any manners or respect, he, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe and the Minister of State, Deputy D'Arcy, would get a guided tour of the hole that is the site for the children's hospital. With a bit of luck, someone would ensure they stayed in the hole. We would have an election and get rid of them. People such as nurses and other healthcare professionals could then get a modicum of respect. I am an employer. One must respect one's staff. The Minister, Deputy Harris, does not respect his staff.
He does not respect this House and the Members here. He does not respect the electorate. He has no respect for anyone only himself, looking in the mirror. How does he sleep in bed at night with the way he treats people in this country and the shameless way he allows this gigantic overrun? He can smile away if he likes. He will go down in history as the worst, most incompetent and useless Minister for Health that ever sat in this Chamber. It is despicable. If he had any modicum of respect, he would be gone long ago, and to hell with his cabal of a Cabinet as well. He has a Dublin trio with him - the Taoiseach and the Ministers Murphy and Donohoe. They care nothing about Ireland.