Statements on the current state for our health system, to Minister Varadkar

Health Care Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during ‘Statements on Health Services’ debate] I welcome the Minister. I wish him the best in his efforts to try to reform the health service. The Minister does not need my advice in this regard but I urge him to remain firm and steadfast in respect of the national children’s hospital. … Continue reading

Leo now stands at a major crossroads

Health Care Reform

[As published in the Sunday Independent on 14 September 2014] Minister can avoid Reilly’s fate to be the face of health reform instead of re-election puppet. There was a rich symbolism in the release of a video of former Health Minister James Reilly being drenched in the Ice-Bucket Challenge, in the same week that it … Continue reading

Legislation to Appoint New Clerk of the Dail

14-05 John Speaking 2

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill] I am not really a politician. What I do here comprises approximately 45% of my life. I still think of my day job as the big job. However, I revere democracy and the process of democracy. One does not have to … Continue reading

National Treasury Management Agency

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the National Treasury Management Agency Bill] We were always taught that pensions were sacrosanct, that they were different. A pension was a special kind of saving one made and certain rules applied in respect of it. One could not touch one’s pension. If one experienced a very … Continue reading

Resignation of Minister Shatter and the treatment of whistleblowers

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I acknowledge Deputy Shatter’s true reforming zeal, the technical expertise and the enthusiasm he brought to the reform process in the Department of Justice and Equality. He showed skills in that area that could be learned by many others throughout government in this country. I think he … Continue reading

Whistleblowers – what protection do they have?


[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I am troubled by certain aspects of the emerging story of the intersection between the legislative branch that oversees the Garda and the various bodies that exist to ensure complaints from within and without the Garda can be handled and by the adequacy of the protection that … Continue reading

Local Government and Parliamentary Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Local Government Reform Bill 2013] Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoir agus leis an Seanadóir Bradford for giving me time. I will be very brief. I would like to draw an analogy that I am sure the Minister has heard many times today. It is in the … Continue reading

Seanad Electoral Reform Bill


I am not advancing this Bill because I wish to preserve the Seanad in the face of extinction by way of referendum; rather, I advance it because I wish to offer something better and something we have never had, namely, a truly democratic Chamber that would draw the citizens of the Republic closer to the … Continue reading

Expenditure on public relations consultants in the health system

I am not certain whether I wish to ask for a debate or clarification in respect of a particular matter. I refer to an issue which has been of great concern to me for some time, namely, the amount of money spent on public relations contracts at all levels – from hospitals up to the … Continue reading