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

Statement regarding St. Vincent’s Hospital

[Speaking during Order of Business in the Seanad} I make this statement with somewhat of a heavy heart but I would like in the first instance to express my support for the Committee of Public Accounts in its investigation into the activities of State-funded institutions, including my own hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital Group. It is … Continue reading

Health (Amendment) Bill 2013

I welcome the Minister of State back to the House. When many of the minor health care reforms such as this, which are coming through the system in preparation hopefully for the big bang of the move to a fully insurance-based system, come up I find myself selectively approving of them through gritted teeth because … 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 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

Putting reform on the long finger will only cost us more

Reilly’s first 10 months in office have not delivered the radical change he promised. It is hard to imagine a more daunting set of political challenges for a novice minister than those facing Minister for Health Dr James Reilly when he bravely assumed office 10 months ago. With his ministerial seal, Dr Reilly inherited a … Continue reading

Health Reform; VHI

Will the Leader ask the Minister for Health to come to the House to explain to us in the context of lengthy briefings he will give us on matters we wish to bring his attention what is the current status and the health of the VHI? I was giving this some thought recently. The single … Continue reading

Spin doctors outnumber specialists in our hospitals

Crisis management is the order of the day but the solution to our gap in manpower is a simple one. Members of the Seanad were informed during the week that there will be an emergency debate next Friday, which is not normally a sitting day for the Upper House. This newly-minted senator felt a slight … Continue reading

Our health system’s two-tier apartheid


THE announcement by Health Minister Mary Harney that the VHI will be privatised is worrying. This not-for-profit organisation provides cheap private health insurance for approximately one half of our citizenry, in the process taking pressure off our public hospitals. In effect, VHI currently provides a form of social insurance. In my perfect world, all citizens … Continue reading