Thursday, 3 October 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
Hospital Accommodation Provision
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source
When one reads the response drafted by departmental officials on behalf of the Minister, one gets to the core of the issue. The response confirms that five beds have been provided. I remind the House that the Ministers for Health and Education and Skills said that all 20 beds would reopen. They said a year ago that they had contacted the manager of the hospital and that the recruitment process had commenced. It has been confirmed in the response that just five beds have been funded. The response also refers to plans for another 15 beds, "with a view" to having them opened in the first quarter of 2020. There is a further reference in the response to the opening of ten beds. The Department is admitting that it funded five beds, but ten beds have been opened. I can inform the Minister of State and the departmental officials that the Saolta University Health Care Group, working with public representatives in Donegal, provided funding to get the number up to ten because of the urgent crisis and the failure of the Government. I am asking the Ministers to keep their promise and their word. The Minister of State has told us that it is "under consideration". That is just not good enough.The Minister for Health is only superseded by the Taoiseach. In recent days, the Taoiseach apologised to all the people in the emergency department. Apologies are no longer any good. People need hope; they need to believe it is going to change. Whatever about the reform of the wider health system, 20 beds were closed and we were promised they would be reopened. It is very simple. The Government was to provide the funding for the nurses and the beds to get it reopened and it has not done so. It broke its promise and its word. I am holding the Government to account. I am not going to go away. We need to see all 20 beds.
I ask that the Minister of State would send the transcript to the Ministers for Education and Skills and Health. I will get the transcript from Highland Radio, if need be, and remind them of the words they uttered. They need to keep their promise and their word, get those beds reopened and give the people of Donegal, and the nurses and doctors in that hospital, some hope. Stop the apologies, give us some hope and give us some solutions.