Enda Kenny on the state of the week. I will have to get the HIQA report on Roscommon and comment on it.

Dear Member

When I became Taoiseach four months ago, I was under no illusion that all of the country’s problems could be fixed immediately.

I knew that many difficult decisions would have to be made and that the state the country was left in meant that everybody would have to play their part in our recovery.

I pledged then to try to the best of my ability to steer the country back to recovery, and I made it clear that I expected the same level of commitment and dedication from all of my Ministers.

Let me be very clear: I am not blind to the hurt and the anger caused by the closure of the Accident and Emergency department at Roscommon Hospital.

I am aware that hundreds travelled to Dublin on Wednesday of this week to voice that anger and indeed, I have met with many of those concerned myself, both in Roscommon and at my constituency office in Castlebar.

I wish to state in no uncertain terms that there is no intention whatsoever on the part of the Government to close down Roscommon Hospital.

We firmly believe that the country’s small hospitals should play a significant role in the Irish Health Service and, accordingly, the vast majority of the treatments that have been provided efficiently in Roscommon over the years will continue as before.

The bottom line here, however, is that the situation as it was in Roscommon Hospital was not conducive to patient safety as there was insufficient medical capacity to deal with all possibilities.
The Health Information and Quality Authority (H I QA) expressed serious concern in this regard about the situation in Roscommon, as well as in several other small hospitals.
Consultants in the Roscommon region have also expressed real fears relating to safety.
Minister Reilly has committed to reform the Irish Health Service. He must begin by finding the best and, crucially, the safest solution for all small hospitals.

We have been brought to this point, not by anyone individually, but rather by years of mismanagement by previous administrations.

Minister Reilly has a plan to put this right and these changes to Roscommon’s situation form part of that plan.

This week, the Minister for Health announced that the National Children’s Hospital is to be located at the Mater Hospital site. The announcement follows an independent review which named it as the ideal location for the facility.

An examination of the costs and clinical benefits of building at various sites was carried out by this independent panel.

We will now move swiftly to proceed with this project in the interest of the children of Ireland.

Once constructed, this will be one of the most significant capital investments carried out by the State and the Hospital will provide health services for Ireland’s children into the coming decades.

The Government remains committed to holding the Referendum on Judges’ Pay on the same day as the Presidential Election in the autumn. This will take place despite some degree of opposition.

The Bill to amend Article 35.5 of the Constitution to allow for reductions in the pay of the Judiciary is currently being drafted in the Office of the Attorney General.

The Referendum will ensure that the reductions in Judges’ salaries are confined to circumstances where public service pay generally, especially at senior levels, is being revised in the public interest.

The pressures the country is currently under means that everyone must pay their way, however unpalatable that may be.

Yesterday, I visited the impressive Microsoft facility in Sandyford with Minister Bruton. My appointments in the West today included launching the Mayo Advertiser’s ‘Buy Mayo’ Awareness Campaign, which will aim to encourage Mayo people to purchase their goods and services locally, in so far as possible. This is really something we should all aim to do.

Tomorrow, the Fine Gael Presidential Convention takes place in Regency Hotel, Drumcondra.

The selection process will be based on a new system which will see the Parliamentary Party account for 70 per-cent of the total vote and Councillors for 20 per-cent with the National Executive making up the remaining 10 per cent.

On Sunday, I will attend the National Day of Commemoration at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

I welcome today’s High Court ruling on JLCs which I anticipate will have a positive impact on the Government’s plans to reform wage setting mechanisms, and, accordingly, contribute in a real way towards job creation.

I also welcome the news that mid-year exchequer figures released this week show that Ireland is meeting its targets in respect of the EU/IMF/ECB bailout.

I made a promise on March 9 to work towards a future when Ireland will once again take charge of its own economic destiny. That was my goal then and that is what I will work unreservedly for until such a time as I leave this office.

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

Enda Kenny TD