Today after being questioned by David Cullinane, Sinn Féin TD for Waterford, the author of the Herity Report all but confirmed that a second cath lab is a medical necessity for Waterford and the South East.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“Niall Herity was before the Health Committee and I was able to pin him down on his report.
“We can now see that one lab is not sustainable. It is not possible to have one lab for both planned procedures and for emergencies nor is it feasable in the long-term to have all emergency cases flown or driven to Cork.
“We need to go back to the Higgins Report and implement its findings. University Hospital Waterford needs to be treated by the HSE as a regional hospital.
“The present plan, which appears to be to downgrade facilities at Waterford and treat it as a general hospital, simply doesn’t make sense form a clinical and regional point of view.
“I will continue to fight to have the Higgins Report put in place and for Waterford and the South East to be given the resources it needs to sustain and grow as a region.”
David Cullinane TD, Sinn Fein Spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform, said that reports of drastic reductions across all departments shows the folly of Fine Gael’s tax-cutting budget and opens up serious questions around the competency of Ministers Donohoe and Noonan.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“Last October the government was warned not to cut USC at that time. It went ahead and did it anyway. We now see the results of this folly.
“This government refuses to invest in public services, focusing only on undermining the tax base, at a time when we have critical pressures in health, housing and education.
“Sinn Féin, in its alternative budget, was able to show that it is possible to invest in housing and address the issue of equal work for equal pay.
“Every budget decision needs to be funded. That is just a basic rule.
“I have consistently asked the minister to show us how he would fund the measures the Minister and his colleagues have announced since the start of the new year.
“I got no answer until it was leaked to the newspapers today.
“This government overspent in the previous budget through its destabilising tax-cutting agenda.
“At the same time Minister Donohoe refuses to answer questions put to him by the Budgetary Scrutiny Committee.
“This government is serving from press launch to press launch, doing damage along the way.
“We need a real alternative in government. Only Sinn Féin can provide that alternative.”
David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Workers’ Rights and sponsor of the Banded Hours Bill 2016, told the Jobs Committee yesterday that the bill would make a material and positive difference to the lives of thousands of workers in this state.
Speaking as a witness before the Committee, Deputy Cullinane said:
“The exploitation of people on low hour contracts, especially in the retail sector but across many other sectors, is an important issue. This Bill will allow workers to apply for a contract that is reflective of their actual working week.
“Unfortunately, we have far too many instances of workers who were on 15-hour contracts, for perhaps ten years, working 30 hours and 40 hours week in-week out. This is a way for companies to exploit their workers.
“This Bill offers a solution. It seeks to provide that a worker, his or her trade union representative or a representative acting on his or her behalf is entitled after six months of continuous employment with his or her employer to make a request in writing of the employer to be moved to a weekly band of hours reflective of their actual working week, as set out in the legislation.
“An unregulated labour market is in no-one’s interests. It dehumanises workers, puts huge pressure on the State in social transfers, reduces people’s disposable income and impoverishes households and children.
“There is an onus on the State to regulate the labour market and ensure that workers’ rights, in terms of pay and conditions, are protected in law. This Bill will strengthen workers’ rights by giving them access to a contract with which they can plan their lives. It will make a positive difference and I hope the Committee will endorse the sentiments and procedures behind it.”
David Cullinane TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform, said today that Sinn Féin will not allow the government and Fianna Fail to row back on their commitment to an inquiry into NAMA.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“It is incredible that the Minister for finance can stand up in the Dail and say that everything is ok with NAMA. This flies in the face of the minister’s own acknowledgement in front of the Public Accounts that Committee that there was a corrupted process in relation to the sale of Project Eagle.
“The C&AG Report into Project Eagle is a shocking exposé of the type of lax oversights and informal relationships that appear to inform NAMA’s engagement with its mandate.
“The question raised by the Report – one that the C&AG is not mandated to address – is a simple one: ‘if a corrupted process such as Project Eagle was allowed to proceed, where else has NAMA been soft on conflicts of interests in order to complete a sale?’
“It is somewhat shocking, but unfortunately not surprising, that Fianna Fail are running scared of an inquiry into NAMA as it was set up under their watch.
“However, the questions surrounding NAMA won’t go away. That is why it needs to be investigated especially in the face of such steadfast reluctance from the establishment parties.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has today introduced a Bill to ensure an end to solvent companies walking away and reneging on their pension obligations to their employees.
The Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced today by Deputy Brady and is co-sponsored by Deputies Denise Mitchell and David Cullinane.
Teachta Brady said:
“In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to close defined benefit schemes regardless of the health of the company. We know this is happening; we saw it most recently in Independent News & Media.
“According to the Irish Association of Pension Funds, the number of active defined benefit schemes has fallen from just over 1,200 at the end of 2006 to less than 500 today. The number of active members in those schemes has dropped from 270,000 to 126,000 at the end of last year.
“In reviewing our pension system in 2012, the OECD clearly identified the allowing of healthy sponsors to walk away from DB pension plans, shutting them down, as another weakness of Irish legislation.
“If we, as legislators, do not address what Independent News & Media have done then we
are allowing other companies to do the same. We are saying that this is acceptable and we are actively leaving the door open for other companies to do the same.
“This Bill implements the OECD recommendation which, had legislation been strengthened at that time, the wipe out of members’ pensions at Independent News and Media would not have been allowed.
“I am calling for cross-party support for this Bill so we can send a very clear message to companies that they will not be allowed to consciously wind down their defined benefit pension plans and renege on their pension commitments to members.”
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for public expenditure and reform, has criticised Fianna Fail’s continued defence of pay rises for TDs above teachers and gardaí, saying that pay equality has to be about more than just words and good intentions.
Deputy Cullinane said: “Fianna Fáil has been quiet on the industrial unrest within the public sector. That is no real surprise as they were the party that created the mess of a two-tier pay system in the first place.
“Their confidence and supply agreement with Fine Gael is not about achieving fairness but about maintaining the status quo, even if this means an unprecedented strike by Gardaí.
“Fianna Fáil are quite happy to take their pay rise and to sit on their hands when it comes to low-paid teachers, gardaí and nurses.
“During their time in government they unleashed a sustained attack upon ordinary working families and upon essential public services such as education, health, justice and housing.
“Today, they are more willing to prop up Lansdowne Road instead of seeing past it as Sinn Féin has done and address the core issues of pay equality and pay restoration.
“It is clear that Fianna Fail’s purpose is to keep things as they are.
“It is not interested in changing the direction of this state, even when it is clear that change is needed.”