Thursday, 1 April 2021
Prime Time Investigates Programme on Department of Health: Statements
Anne Rabbitte (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
I thank Deputy Fitzpatrick for his comments and questions. Perhaps I should have started by apologising but I will certainly do so in my concluding remarks. The Deputy asked some very direct questions. For example, he asked how many live cases there are. There are four dozen live cases. This is a clear answer.
My concluding statement sets out a list of questions that I have asked, no more than the Deputy has, and I have not received answers to all of them. That is not to say they have not been asked. I am awaiting responses to them. Three independent barristers are involved in the review that is under way. They are going through all of the files to ensure the process and trust are not broken in order to give us the answers to all of those questions. I have requested a support liaison for the families impacted by this and that is being put in place. I have also requested that an email address be provided for families who may not, thankfully, get a phone call because they have not been impacted but who may be upset. These are families like those who visit the Deputy’s office, my office or the Minister's office. There will be somebody available to give them a response in order that their voice will not go unheard.
The most important task here is to rebuild trust, not only in physicians but also in the HSE and the Department. Families also need to have trust in public representatives and that we will stand by them and stay in their corner. If something is wrong or not transparent, it is our job to ensure transparency and trust in the system. I plan to rebuild that trust but it not just me who needs to rebuild it. It needs to come from the Secretary General of the Department down. He needs to appear before the Joint Committee on Health or another committee.