8 May 2018
“Untouchable” HSE boss Tony O’Brien must be held to account - McDonald
“Tony O'Brien is not part of the solution. His leadership of the HSE is part of the problem and the Taoiseach needs to remove him from his job." - Mary Lou McDonald TD
Uachtarán Shinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald TD has announced that her party will table a motion of no confidence in HSE Director General in the Dáil next week.
Despite repeated calls for Tony O’Brien to resign over the recent CervicalCheck scandal, the government is still refusing to hold him to account.
Sinn Féin had tabled an amendment to the Rural Independent Group’s motion, which aimed to create an opportunity for deputies to debate and vote on whether or not the Dáil has confidence in Mr O’Brien this evening.
This motion was ruled out by the Ceann Comhairle but Sinn Féin will now table a motion of no confidence in the Director General as Private Members Business next week.
This is has been made possible with the assistance of the Social Democrats, who have agreed to swap their Private Members time with Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD criticised the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon stating that her party should not have to put forward a motion, as he and the Minister for Health Simon Harris “should be leading from the front”.
The government has refused to act and the Dáil has been silenced. As it stands Tony O’Brien is set to vacate his post at the beginning of July so that he can avail of his annual leave.
This comes after he told the Oireachtas Committee that he would dedicate the remainder of his time in his post to ensure justice is found for the victims of yet another HSE scandal. Where is the accountability in all of this?
If the head of the HSE can’t be held to account then what does this say for the rest of the Executive? The buck stops with Tony O’Brien and we owe it to women like Vicky Phelan to ensure that people in positions of responsibility are held to account for this scandal.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald has said the Taoiseach's continued support for Mr O'Brien “sends out a very negative message to the victims of this scandal”.
The Sinn Féin leader added: “People looking on see the old boys club who run this state being protected at all costs.
“Tony O’Brien is untouchable even though wives have been lost to their husbands, untouchable even though mothers have been lost to their children, untouchable even though life itself has been lost to women.
“He is not part of the solution. His leadership of the HSE is part of the problem and the Taoiseach needs to remove him from his job."
These views have been echoed by people directed affected by this scandal.
Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene was twice given incorrect cervical cancer results and died in July last year also said the Director General needed to go. The woman at the centre of the CervicalCheck scandal, Vicky Phelan, has also called for the resignation of Mr O’Brien.
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