Absence of dermatologists; Cancellation of Obesity Surgery; Banking Inquiry Committee

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order Of Business]

I apologise if I sound like a broken record but this is yet another day without a dermatologist in the part of the country with the highest incidence of skin cancer, despite months of advance notice. I hope this issue is being addressed as a matter of extreme urgency.

This is the third day since a letter informed the surgeons in St. Vincent’s hospital that they are not to carry out any further weight reduction surgeries despite a huge public relations effort to emphasise the need for this society to tackle the problem of obesity. I would be grateful to the Leader if he could use his good office to find out the chain of events because I am hearing different versions. According to one version, no funding was made available but other versions suggest that limited funding was made available or that the funding had been spent. The reality is while the surgeons were previously allowed two budgeted cases per week to work down a waiting list of 180 patients, which is now two years long and on which many people die, that waiting list is being lengthened further.

With respect to the other matter, I am conflicted because I think the banking inquiry will probably be stronger due to the involvement of additional inquisitors with expertise and life experience and that the two Members mentioned will probably do a good job. However, it has been a bad week for democracy. For the record, let us be blunt and ensure this is well annotated. What happened was that some people missed the meeting. They may have had good reasons for missing the meeting but this meant that the result did not go the way that might have been anticipated if there had been a large majority for the Government coalition. As a result, the selection was not agreeable to the Government and the first strategy embarked on was to try to discredit one of the people who had been elected.

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