Taoiseach struck by ‘attempts to rename the truth’ over National Maternity Hospital
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he has been struck by attempts to “reverse” or “rename” the truth over the location of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) at St Vincent’s.
A Sinn Féin motion that calls for the NMH be built on public land is due before the Dáil on Wednesday evening; the Government has signalled that it will not oppose the motion.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald accused the Government of sowing “confusion, distrust and unease” about its NMH plan, while independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae accused the Taoiseach of being the “laughing stock of the country”.
Cabinet approved the ownership and governance plans for the colocation of the NMH on Tuesday after two weeks of debate over the legal documents, as well as several Oireachtas Health Committee appearances.
Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello have signalled that if there is a vote on Sinn Féin’s motion on Wednesday evening, they will vote in favour of the motion.
HSE services disrupted as medical scientists strike over pay parity
Hundreds of medical scientists are taking part in industrial action across the country over pay and retention issues after negotiations with the HSE and Department of Health failed to bring about a resolution.
The strike action involves the withdrawal of routine laboratory services, such as the analysing of blood and urine samples, scans and other tests, from 8am to 8pm, which is affecting routine hospital and GP services across the country.
Andrea Byrne Fitzgerald, a union representative at Naas General Hospital, told the PA news agency that medical scientists had worked “very hard” through the pandemic and a cyber attack.
“I have colleagues who doubled up for very, very little reward afterwards.
“You could end up doing 24-hour shifts three or four times a week if your colleagues are sick.”
Long hospital waiting lists ‘unacceptable’ – Paul Reid
HSE chief Paul Reid has admitted that long waiting lists for hospital services are “unacceptable”, in evidence about the HSE’s National Service Plan 2022 given to the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Mr Reid said a “multi-annual” approach was needed to resolve the “chronic” issues with waiting lists.
“We have to get on top of the day-to-day demand that’s coming at us first,” he said.
“The plan does set out that if we do nothing we will have another 15,000 people added to the waiting list. We want to address that by staying ahead of that.”
HSE chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said part of the strategy was to provide new ways to access care “rather than rely on the traditional referrals to consultants in hospitals with lengthy waiting lists”.
“For example, we are expanding a virtual fracture clinic which began in Tullamore Hospital and is expanding throughout the country.”
Covid: Ireland logs 41 deaths and 9,213 new cases over latest weekly period
A total of 41 deaths and 9,213 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in Ireland over the latest weekly period.
Beginning this week, data relating to new cases and deaths will update just once weekly each Wednesday on the country’s official data hub.
The latest cases were recorded over the week from May 12th to May 18th through a combination of PCR and antigen tests.
While daily case figures no longer accurately capture the spread of the virus due to a major scaling down of the test and trace system, they still indicate that the country is experiencing just a fraction of the infections seen at the height of a surge driven by the Omicron variant two months ago.
At that time, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said under-reporting meant the true number of weekly cases was likely “several hundred thousand”.
Michelle O’Neill calls for clarity on criteria for calling Irish unity poll
The public should be given clarity on the criteria for calling a poll on Irish unification, Michelle O’Neill has said.
The Sinn Féin vice president said there was a need to fill in the “grey” area of the Good Friday Agreement on the circumstances for holding a referendum on constitutional change.
Her comments come after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also called for clarity on the mechanism for calling a poll.
Under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast agreement, a vote should be triggered if the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland believes that it appears likely that a majority would back constitutional change.