Health Service Executive (Financial Matters) Bill

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Health Service Executive (Financial Matters) Bill 2013] This is obviously an important way-station in the process of health care reform and, as such, I support it. We were in a situation whereby a largely unanswerable bureaucracy had been given the outsourced job of operations management of … Continue reading

Health Insurance (Reform) Bill

Health Care Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad] It is 21 years since I returned to Ireland. At that time, I rapidly came to the conclusion that the health system was in fundamental need of reform. The key problems that were obvious to me were the general poor quality, extraordinary inefficiency and highly unequal nature of the health system. … Continue reading

We must dream to escape nightmare; Statistics show that our beleaguered health system is the sick man of Europe


As published in The Sunday Independent on 27th October 2013 FRIENDS I have a dream today. I have a dream of an Irish health service where every woman, every man and every child could see the same doctor in the same hospital or clinic following the same reasonable wait if they have the same illness, … Continue reading

Private health insurers’ possible cartel-like activity

I hate to sound like a broken record because I raised this issue yesterday, but additional information has come to my attention which urgently needs to be brought to the Minister’s attention. An approved licensed drug, Ipilimumab, is the first to benefit substantial numbers of patients with a relatively uncommon cancer, malignant melanoma. It is, … Continue reading

Melanoma patients: unequal cover from health insurers and long waiting lists for dermatologists

I have an urgent request for the Leader to bring to the attention of the Minister for Health something that has been bubbling under the radar for several weeks, the uneven access to cancer treatments for patients with private health insurance, depending on which company they are with. This causes spin-off problems for the public … Continue reading

Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill

There are a few points I want to make, more on the general tenor of the Bill. When I heard my colleague talk earlier about the evil markets, I was reminded of the advertisement, on which the little meerkat accused people of confusing the term “compare the market” with “compare the meerkat”. There is … Continue reading

Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill


I will broadly support the Bill while taking on board all of the reservations raised by Senator Barrett. The only hopeful way to consider this legislation is to view it strictly as an interim measure until the big bang of major reform into a universal, single-tier insurance-based health care system occurs. I hope it occurs … Continue reading

Health Reform

Speaking on the Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill 2012 – The HSE is a failed experiment. The notion of having a single, nationally commanded and controlled managerialist bureaucracy micro-managing every aspect of our hospitals and other parts of health system has failed. We need to hasten the model’s extinction. Many people, on hearing this argument, … Continue reading

Primary Care Centres

I will not say too much this evening other than that I would share some interest in seeing a little clarification on the decision-making process that was involved in the primary care centres, but I will not be supporting this motion. (Link to Motion: ). I am not a party member. I was a … Continue reading

Health Service Executive (Governance) Bill

I was asked in public last week whether I would have voted to express confidence in the Minister last weekend had I had the opportunity to do so; I state unambiguously that I would have done so. The Minister inherited a very difficult job in very difficult circumstances. He set his face into the wind … Continue reading