Seanad debates

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

3:00 am

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Fine Gael)

I would like to refer to a matter that I raised at this morning's meeting of the Joint Committee on Health and Children. At last Thursday's meeting of the joint committee, two groups in attendance were asked specific questions about the fact that a number of junior doctors are staying in guesthouses as they wait for an examination date to be set. It was disclosed to the committee on Thursday that a memorandum of agreement had been prepared by the Medical Council and the HSE. Although questions were asked at that meeting, the contents of the memorandum were not disclosed. It appears, however, that the memorandum was published and made available immediately before, during or immediately after last Thursday's meeting. The contents of the memorandum were relevant to the discussions at the meeting.

It is outrageous that two organisations came to an Oireachtas committee meeting to deal with a specific issue but failed to make the relevant information available to the committee during the debate. I asked the committee this morning to write to both organisations to express the disappointment of members about their failure to disclose crucial information and it agreed to do so. Oireachtas committees are made irrelevant if they can be treated with such contempt by these organisations. As far as I am concerned, the two organisations treated me and the committee with contempt. We were trying to deal with a specific issue and we asked them to assist us in that regard. I ask the Leader to bring this matter to the attention of the Minister for Health who could convey our thoughts to the two organisations concerned. They are accountable to the Members of the Oireachtas and to the Joint Committee on Health and Children, and they should have made the disclosure.


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