Saturday, 27 June 2020
Taoiseach a Ainmniú (Atógáil) - Nomination of Taoiseach (Resumed)
First, I sincerely sympathise with the family and with every member of the force with regard to the tragic loss of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
What I want from the incoming Government is that I do not want it to leave people behind. I will give an example of what it is to leave people behind, and with the permission of himself and his family, I will raise the case of young Ronan Foley from Dungeel in Killorglin. He is 15 years of age and I want each and every Member of this Dáil, the new Minister for Health, and the new Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to remember this case. He is lying today in pain with a 90° curve on his spine. He has been waiting more than 20 months for an operation the outgoing Minister for Health said no child should wait any more than four months for. This is a tragedy and a travesty, and I do not want this Government to leave people like Ronan Foley from Killorglin behind. I want people like him to have an operation when they need it.
I cannot support the programme for Government for a number of reasons. First, the outgoing Taoiseach and the new incoming Taoiseach both, for instance, promised the people in Kerry that Shannon LNG would go ahead. They made that promise as late as February, and then made a U-turn and abandoned the people of Kerry.
I am grateful to the people of Kerry for supporting and electing me to this Dáil, and I must support them by standing up for them here today. I want to think of the present generation and of the pressures that are on them. We are promised a farmers' rural environment protection scheme, REPS. We are promised a retirement scheme. There are no costing of these whatsoever. Kerry is the tourism capital of the world. I want the businesses there to be supported.
I will say finally to the new incoming Taoiseach, Deputy Micheál Martin, that I have known him personally for more than 30 years. I know that he will be extremely diligent and hard-working. I wish him nothing but success, but I want him and his new Government to think of the Ronan Foleys of this country and leave no one behind, especially when it comes to health.