Concerns over obstetrical care. Why is there no adult intensive care unit in any of our maternity hospitals?

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I propose that the Minister for Health or the Minister of State at the Department of Health should come to the House to brief us urgently on what is happening with obstetrical care. It is now more than two years since the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar … Continue reading

Problems in the structure of Irish medical education

14-05 John Speaking 2

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014] I will shamelessly take the opportunity of having the Minister held captive in the Chamber to make a cri de coeur to her in her new capacity as Minister for Education and Skills to seriously examine the structure and number of … Continue reading

Portlaoise Hospital: Obstetric and Maternity Services


[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I ask the Leaders to draw the attention of the Minister to the state of our obstetric services and the staffing levels in them and possibly to arrange a debate. The tragic loss of the parents in Portlaoise deserves our sympathy. As a parent, I cannot feel … Continue reading

HSE hospital figures; Medical Cards; HSE threatening legal action

Eamonn Farrell - Photocall Ireland

[Speaking in the Seanad during Order of Business] I propose an amendment to the Order of Business to ask the Minister for Health to attend the House today to address the issues that arose with respect to the letter by the Irish emergency medicine trainees that courageously highlighted some glaring deficiencies and some misperceptions that … 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

Strike action by junior doctors

[Speaking in the Seanad] I am delighted that my good friend and colleague, Senator Colm Burke, has mentioned the plight of junior hospital doctors. He has been an informed and authoritative champion of all manner of issues in the health service and I hope his party appreciates the expertise and diligence he brings to legislation … Continue reading

‘Emergency’ legislation & the liquidation of Anglo


All I can say at this hour of the morning is that I hope that poisoned chalice everybody refers to is full of Red Bull. Otherwise, we will have some difficulty getting through the next hour or so. There have been frequent references to how inadvisable it is to have people making critical decisions in … Continue reading

Recruitment of extra junior doctors

Prior to the recess, Senators were summoned to consider emergency legislation to deal with the shortage of medical person power which had emerged, despite the country having the highest number of medical schools per head of population of any western or OECD country. The House was compelled to pass urgent legislation in order that we … Continue reading

When will they ever realise the problem is lack of specialists?

We should be shamed by our dependence on junior doctors, but it’s the natural fallout of a ruinous bureaucracy. Eighteen years of frustration with the bureaucracy that has ruined our health system finally bubbled over this week. The precipitating event was the debate on the Medical Practitioners Act, a piece of “emergency” legislation that was … Continue reading