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Saturday, November 13, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey was pleased to be able to facilitate Wexford General Hospital Community Alliance when Dr. McKiernan asked if he could help set up a meeting with the leader of Fine Gael, Enda Kenny and Fine Gael’s Health spokesperson, Dr. James Reilly.

Dr. Twomey said that the meeting went well. “Dr. McKiernan and Fr. Fegan wanted to be reassured that Fine Gael is committed to Wexford General Hospital and to keeping its A and E Department open and Enda and Dr. Reilly promised them that commitment. As Fine Gael may be leading the next government, it is important for the Alliance to know that we are on their side.”

“We in Fine Gael have a very different approach to Minister Harney and this government in providing health care. Our health policy is called Faircare and that is what it will be: a fair health care system for all. It puts the patient at the centre of the health system and patients will be seen based on medical need and not based on money. This policy will do away with the two tier system that has proven so unfair for patients in Wexford and throughout the country, over the years.”

Dr. Twomey added that he was again dismayed but not surprised that Wexford General Hospital had the second highest number of people on trolleys outside of Dublin this week. “Again this underlies the importance of Wexford General Hospital to the people of Wexford. Fine Gael realise how essential the current hospital services are and particularly the 24 hour A and E department. It is because of Fine Gael’s commitment to the hospital that Dr. Reilly is coming down on Monday 29 November 2010.”

Dr. Twomey pointed out “the government is not gone yet and the budget details still have to be announced. As long as Fianna Fail is in power, I will continue to fight to ensure that current services at Wexford General Hospital are maintained.”

Friday, November 12, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey wants Fianna Fail and its Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to explain why Ireland’s sugar beet industry was closed down, when the European Commission did not have the correct information. “According to the European Court of Auditor’s Report, when the Commission made it s proposal on sugar reform in 2005, they were unaware of Greencore's rationalisation /restructuring that had taken place leaving it with just one factory in Mallow.”

“The sugar beet industry was extremely important for Wexford farmers. When Greencore closed its factory in 2006 it ended eighty years of beet and sugar production in Ireland and affected 3,700 growers in Wexford and throughout the south east and southern areas of the country as well as the staff in Mallow and associated industries around the country. “

“The government have a number of questions to answer. It was up to the then Minister of Agriculture Mary Coughlan to give the Commission the correct information and defend the beet farmers and the sugar industry in Ireland. Fianna Fail are always saying that the smart economy is the way forward for Ireland but did they consider at the time that sugar can be used as a source of bioethanol or that sugar is also used by other chemical industries?”

“During the Celtic Tiger, Fianna Fail neglected Irish industry and agriculture in favour of construction with the result that Ireland is now importing €99 million worth of sugar annually into the country. According to Iarnrod Eireann, the loss of the sugar beet industry was also a cause of the railway line closure between Waterford and Rosslare, earlier this year.”

“Our agri-food industry produces exports worth €8 billion annually and provides 250,000 jobs throughout the country; therefore it is very important for the future of this country. For this reason, Fine Gael believes it is essential to make a strong case for Ireland to ensure good support from the EU will continue to be received under the Common Agricultural Policy, which is up for reform in 2013. Agriculture is an indigenous and well organised industry that continues to offer increased potential for Ireland. Fine Gael will do its best to protect Irish farmers unlike Fianna Fail with the sugar beet farmers in 2005.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has said that the target of €6 billion will bring the deficit to 9.5% of GDP. “Unfortunately with Fianna Fail and the Greens at the helm, the public have no confidence in them and they do not believe that the cuts will be felt by everyone across the board. The public feel that people at the lower end will be hit harder than those at the top. Fianna Fail does not believe that those who have the most should pay the most and we have seen this unfair policy in Minister Lenihan’s apparent obsession to protect Anglo Irish Bank against all the economic advice and to the detriment of everyone else in county Wexford and across the country.”

“With 18,372 unemployed in County Wexford, this figure will rise without a stimulus plan. This has not been part of Fianna Fail’s policy in the last couple of years and Minister Lenihan’s solution seems to be for 100,000 people to leave the country so that the live register figures will decrease. There are about 100,000 small businesses in Ireland and if the government could support them so that they can increase their workforce by just one then that would be an extra 100,000 people off the live register.”

“This government has let the people down and Minister Lenihan and his colleagues have not been telling us the truth about the figures. They have been drip feeding the bad news in the hope that they can dupe the public into thinking that Fianna Fail has their best interests at heart. Fianna Fail have not put the country first and we have seen this first hand in County Wexford with the closure of the Rosslare to Waterford line, and the continuous threat to our A & E, our maternity services and our mental health services. Fianna Fail allowed the construction sector to increase in an unsustainable manner while ignoring our manufacturing industries and farming and this was felt most acutely in county Wexford. “

“With Fianna Fail running out of ideas, we need a Fine Gael led government with Ministers from County Wexford who will ensure that all our services will be maintained for the people of county Wexford.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Dr. Twomey has highlighted the situation of up to 300 apprentices in county Wexford to the Minister for Education and Skills in the Seanad last week. “These apprentices are not in a position to complete their apprenticeship training because they are no longer working for the employer to whom they would have expected to return following their spell in college. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 individuals throughout the country are in limbo in terms of not being able to complete their apprenticeship training, mostly electricians, carpenters and others involved in the construction industry which is experiencing a massive downturn. There is a need for the Government to take more action to ensure these individuals to finish their apprenticeships as soon as possible. If they were able to do so, it would, at least, give them an opportunity to travel abroad to seek work and make a living for themselves.”

“FAS has the funds to provide a weekly subsidy of €250 for their employers towards employment costs, so the Minister should be looking at placing them in areas that would not have traditionally taken on such apprentices, such as the Army / the Navy and Local Authorities. There is a fear that the Unions may be blocking the apprentices finishing their apprenticeships as the Unions want them to earn €600 per week in their final year but this is not sustainable. It is more important to facilitate these young people to complete their apprenticeships. “

“If these apprentices were college students and the Government closed down the institution at which they were studying, there would be uproar if they were prevented from completing their courses because this would jeopardise their chances of obtaining employment either here or abroad. The Government needs to do more and at a faster rate. FAS has the resources so they should be working as quickly as possible help these apprentices.”

Friday, September 24, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey warns that the leaked HSE document on the reconfiguration of health services in the South East is putting patients lives at risk and makes access to healthcare harder for thousands of patients.

Leaked documents from the HSE indicate that the HSE only supports the retention of two major hospitals in the South East. These two hospitals at Waterford Regional Hospital and St. Luke’s in Kilkenny, are only 30 minutes apart via the new motorway.

In contrast, Wexford Hospital is over an hour away from either hospital and serves a catchment area of 150,000 people, larger than any other county in the South East. The HSE document indicates that Wexford will only have 12 hour Urgent Care, no acute surgery and no maternity services. Taking into account the imminent closure of St. Senan’s psychiatric hospital in County Wexford next year and no significant investment in either primary care or the ambulance services, the HSE stand accused of dismantling the health services in the South East with Wexford being seriously affected.

There is already growing concern by patients and doctors that Waterford Regional Hospital is failing to deliver health services in an appropriate manner.
Waiting times for ENT (Ear Nose and Throat), Orthopaedic (bones) and Urology (prostate/bladder problem) Outpatients is at least two years and up to four years. The HSE’s failure to deliver these services in a timely manner is unacceptable. The HSE’s long term plan as outlined in the leaked document will cost patients their lives and lead to more problems with delayed diagnosis.

The HSE’s failure to maintain services at the appropriate level at Wexford General Hospital is alarming. Between 20 -30 patients have been on trolleys on numerous occasions during the summer months. Up to 30 nurses are on maternity leave and have not been replaced leading to reduction of services at the Hospital. The Hospital budget has been cut by 11 million in the last 3 years.

As Fine Gael spokesperson on Health and Children from 2004-2007, I watched with dismay the botched reconfiguration of the North East; I now see the same flawed thinking being applied to the South East.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael said that he is not surprised by the Global Competitiveness Index report, which found that Irish competitiveness declined again over the last 12 months, falling from 25th to 29th overall. “

“When you look behind our rating of 29th in the world, we find that our rating is even lower in some areas; for example in wastefulness of government spending we are 93rd, in transport and infrastructure we are 53rd. Our nearest English speaking neighbour, the UK, is 12th for competitiveness overall while six European countries are in the top 10 with Switzerland and Sweden in 1st and 2nd place respectively.”

“It is no surprise that our competitiveness has not improved. State imposed costs as well as trouble in accessing credit are some of the biggest problems facing businesses and they impact negatively on competiveness. Wexford County Councillors were successful in ensuring that commercial rates were not raised this year. Despite this, we have seen businesses close in Wexford and it is because this government fails to realise the impact this recession is having on businesses. They have not supported businesses since the beginning of this recession and they have recently implemented increases in electricity, petrol and diesel with the carbon tax and the energy levy which shows their lack of understanding of our current situation. Without a comprehensive government plan, our competiveness will continue to decline, making us a very unattractive prospect, not only for international and local businesses but also for tourists.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that he is concerned about the lack of funding for health services especially mental health. “In July, Fianna Fail announced that health’s capital spending would be slashed by €2.2 billion, with a possible €1billion cut in current spending. Wexford can see the impact of last year’s budget cuts with approximately 25 people having to suffer the indignity of lying on trolleys in the hospital nearly every day during the summer, since the closure of St. Aidan’s Ward.”

“As well as this, the HSE Assistant National Director of Mental Health said yesterday (Thursday) that no new money has been provided for mental health services this year. No new money was provided in 2008 and only €3million was provided in 2009. It is unlikely that any extra money will be provided next year. This is despite Fianna Fail’s promise of giving €21million to Mental Health services each year for a period of seven years in ‘A Vision for Change’ launched in 2006. It was also expected that €50 million would be realised from the sale of old hospital sites. However it is clear that due to the poor property market, this figure will not be reached.”

“I am concerned about these figures as we were told earlier this year that St. Senan’s would close in February 2011. Because of the mess that Fianna Fail has made of the economy, Minister Moloney also told us that there was no money to build a Mental Health Unit at Wexford General Hospital but he did promise that comprehensive Mental Health Community Services would be put in place. However, due to the moratorium on recruitment, over 700 staff left mental healthcare in 2009 and only 65 were replaced. This is putting huge pressure on all services and this, plus the budget cuts, plus the lack of implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’ makes me worried about Fianna Fail’s commitment to providing good mental health services in county Wexford. If this government fails to honour their commitments to the Mental Health Services, in County Wexford, the people of County Wexford must stand up for this very vulnerable sector in our county.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dr. Twomey welcomes new roundabout at Ashfield Cross

Dr Liam Twomey is delighted that the NRA has begun work on a new roundabout at Ashfield Cross. “One of the most traumatic days of my own medical career in Co Wexford, was when I attended a road traffic accident in August of 2003, where two small children died. I know that this had a profound effect on everyone who attended the accident.
I know it was extremely upsetting for Ambulance crews, Firemen and Gardai who like the other Doctor and Nurses present, thought they had seen it all in their careers.”

“There have been other accidents at this site, where lives have been lost and people injured. I hope when this work is completed, we won’t see these tragedies again. I will call on the Government to make funding available to upgrade our secondary roads, to reduce the risk of accidents that have such an awful effect on families when lives are lost.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey is disappointed by the lack of vision in the capital expenditure programme launched at the end of July by the Fianna Fail government. “This programme is not a stimulus package and unfortunately will not do what the government claims it will do - get people back working.”
“County Wexford needs to get its people back to work. In June there were nearly 19,000 on the live register. If we compare this figure to the same period in 2008, the numbers on the live register have doubled or more than doubled for each of the towns in County Wexford. 21% of those on the live register are under 25 and a lot of these would have worked in construction. However the biggest, most expensive construction projects proposed in the capital programme seem to be concentrated in the Dublin area with Metro North and the relocation of Dublin Institute of Technology.”
“The government should take a more regional approach, targeting the worst regions with the highest need. Our Fianna Fail TDs in County Wexford should be highlighting Wexford’s problems to the government to ensure that we get all the help we need. For example, earlier in the year the government launched the Labour Market Activation Fund (€20 million) which was set up to provide about 3,500 training places for the low skilled, the under 35’s and those formerly employed in the construction, retail and manufacturing sectors. However County Wexford did not receive any of this funding and indeed County Carlow was the only county in the South East to get any funding at all.”
“I want the government to realise how much pressure people in county Wexford are under and how worried they are about keeping their jobs and their homes.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has said that he is not surprised about how fearful and angry people are with the proposed N11/N25 Oylegate to Enniscorthy motorway. “People are fearful because some of the routes are near schools and will divide farms and communities. However no decision has been made yet so communities getting together and making their voice heard is very important in the public consultation process.”
“Looking at the figures for the past ten years, during the Celtic Tiger, expenditure on road improvements and maintenance in County Wexford was 210 million. Now when the government has no money and there are plans to cut capital expenditure, we are expected to believe that over 1 billion euros will be spent in the next five years on the New Ross and Enniscorthy bypasses as well as projects on the N11 just north of County Wexford in Wicklow and the N11/N25 project. I am sceptical that this project will go ahead because I was told in 2003 that the Rosslare Harbour Access route would be completed by 2010. This would have cost only 30 million and it has still not been built.”
“We need to be realistic about this proposed motorway. If in the past decade, the NRA did not have the 30 million for the Harbour access route and only spent a total of 210 million in county Wexford in a decade, what are the prospects of this government spending 1,200 million in County Wexford or just north of county Wexford at a time when this country does not have money to throw around. I am asking this question, not because I am against improving the infrastructure of county Wexford but I do not want the stress and concern that the people of Wexford affected by the final route chosen will feel, over what might turn out to be another big announcement that might never happen. The responsibility for telling the truth to the people of county Wexford lies not just with the NRA but also with our government representatives.”


Dr. Liam Twomey, Finance Spokesperson in the Seanad has welcomed Minister Mary Hanafin’s promise to meet with NAMA to discuss the hotel sector. “The Minister does need to meet with NAMA as it seems that unviable hotels are being kept afloat artificially by being included in NAMA thereby putting more pressure on smaller, family run hotels.”

“There is currently an overcapacity of rooms in Ireland as 25,000 rooms, (40% of the total) were built in the last ten years and therefore it is these “zombie hotels” that are being propped up by NAMA and the tax payer. Despite a decrease in prices, the tourist industry estimates that 45% of rooms are empty on a weekly basis. The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation has shown that expenditure in tourism has fallen to below 2003 levels and that there was a 20% drop in bednights last year. The outlook for 2010 suggests a further reduction in visitors with at least 1.5 million less visitors than three years ago.”

“The tourist industry has been hit hard by the recession and there are fears from those in the industry that market conditions will remain unstable. Tourism is an important part of county Wexford’s economy. Tourist numbers are down, including British tourists due to the travel tax and our reputation of being a poor “value for money” destination. Even though the value has improved, a decrease in the VAT rate on food and accommodation, as proposed at this month’s Borough Council Meeting, would also help to give Ireland’s tourists better value for money.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey is concerned by the announcement made by the Minister for Health and Children lsast Thursday that the budget cuts in December will seriously affect the health service throughout the country. “As we know the government must find savings of 3 billion in next year’s budget. As Health makes up 27% of the entire annual government expenditure, the Minister expects that a sizeable portion of the 3 billion savings will come from Health.”
“This year the Health Budget was cut by 1 billion and this resulted in many bed and ward closures throughout the countries’ hospitals resulting in longer waiting lists and a large number of patients on trolleys. In Wexford General Hospital, there were a number of acute bed closures during the year and the closure of St. Aidan’s 25 bed ward during the summer. This has resulted in people being instructed not to go to the A & E in Wexford last week due to the large number of patients on trolleys, with 22 people on trolleys on Friday mornings. Cuts of 600 million are expected next year and could be as much as 750 million. Therefore, we must continue to fight to retain our 24 hour A & E service.”
“The government have had a one dimensional approach to improving the country’s finances – they have only cut expenditure and have spent money on the banks, with no effort to generate funds. They have taken the easy option and have continued to target the most vulnerable areas. As Minister for Health, Mary Harney should be fighting as hard as possible for her Department’s budget to be maintained to ensure that patients get the quality of services that they need.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that a Eurostat survey has revealed that Irish food prices in 2009 were the second highest in the EU. “At the same time that Irish food prices are high, farmers have been hit by very difficult market conditions in the past year with farm incomes decreasing. A report from Teagasc last month confirmed that farm incomes in 2009 fell by 30% from 2008 figures and in 2008, farm income had already taken a 10% decrease.”
“While food prices are high, it seems that the retailers are the only ones who are gaining from it – the house holder buying the food and the farmer selling the food are both losing out. We are still waiting on the government to introduce a supermarket ombudsman to ensure fairness and transparency in this sector. Tesco, Superquinn and Lidl are opposed to an ombudsman for the supermarket sector as they claim that it would result in an increase in the cost of food for the consumer.” Dr. Twomey acknowledged that there are high costs for doing business in Ireland such as water rates, insurance and electricity but the concern is that excessive profits are being taken.”
Dr. Twomey said that the main point is that farmers’ prices are below the EU average while the food costs are one of the highest in Europe. ”Why is this case in Ireland? This discrepancy in the farmers’ price and the end user cost cannot be allowed to continue. For example the supermarkets currently charge milk at 6 times the cost paid to farmers. We in Fine Gael have published proposals that will bring a level of transparency and hence protection for farmers in a supermarket sector that is shrouded in secrecy and in poor business practices and we will continue to put pressure on the government to improve the situation.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that a Eurostat survey has revealed that Irish food prices in 2009 were the second highest in the EU. “At the same time that Irish food prices are high, farmers have been hit by very difficult market conditions in the past year with farm incomes decreasing. A report from Teagasc last month confirmed that farm incomes in 2009 fell by 30% from 2008 figures and in 2008, farm income had already taken a 10% decrease.”
“While food prices are high, it seems that the retailers are the only ones who are gaining from it – the house holder buying the food and the farmer selling the food are both losing out. We are still waiting on the government to introduce a supermarket ombudsman to ensure fairness and transparency in this sector. Tesco, Superquinn and Lidl are opposed to an ombudsman for the supermarket sector as they claim that it would result in an increase in the cost of food for the consumer.” Dr. Twomey acknowledged that there are high costs for doing business in Ireland such as water rates, insurance and electricity but the concern is that excessive profits are being taken.”
Dr. Twomey said that the main point is that farmers’ prices are below the EU average while the food costs are one of the highest in Europe. ”Why is this case in Ireland? This discrepancy in the farmers’ price and the end user cost cannot be allowed to continue. For example the supermarkets currently charge milk at 6 times the cost paid to farmers. We in Fine Gael have published proposals that will bring a level of transparency and hence protection for farmers in a supermarket sector that is shrouded in secrecy and in poor business practices and we will continue to put pressure on the government to improve the situation.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that he does not believe the Taoiseach’s claims when he said that there will be no cuts to front line services for those with disabilities because families have seen these services cut since January and budgets are expected to be cut further next year.

“Since the beginning of the downturn, this Fianna Fail government has consistently made cuts in areas where there is the greatest need e.g. cuts in Social Welfare, cuts in essential hospital services and cuts for those with disabilities and we in county Wexford have seen all of these cuts at first hand. At the same time, people’s perception is that the cuts are unfair because those at the top like the developers and bankers have been protected and this is resulting in alot of public anger.”

“As a result of this anger, people marched in Dublin and Galway on Wednesday in protest at cuts in respite care services. The government must realise that families with loved ones that have disabilities are under constant pressure and stress and need the voluntary respite care services to help them to cope in caring for their family members.”

“However, we know that there is waste at every level in the HSE. The Chief Executive of the HSE Corporate body told Fine Gael that there are 2,500 people who do not know what their jobs are. Despite this, there will be no redundancies in the HSE at this level. Therefore it is essential that HSE officials, when looking at ways to decrease costs start at the top and look at areas of waste, not at front line services. Respite care is essential in improving the quality of life for both the carers and those who are mentally or physically disabled and we are lucky in county Wexford to have good facilities providing excellent care. I will continue to put pressure on the government to ensure that respite care services are not cut.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey met with Minister Moloney and HSE officials on 8th July in relation to an acute psychiatric admissions unit in Wexford General Hospital.
“The HSE do not support an acute admission unit for County Wexford. The HSE wants to develop community services in County Wexford. The plan they have outlined to me is:
· Two day hospitals, one in Wexford town and one in Gorey
· Expanded community clinics and long care facilities in Enniscorthy and New Ross
· Increase in multi-disciplinary community care teams to treat patients at home
· Additional staff to treat patients in County Wexford."

“The HSE expects their proposals to reduce in-patient admissions by a half when fully implemented. Unfortunately it will mean that patients who need in-patient treatment will have to travel to Waterford Hospital which will be upgraded.”

“The HSE will publish its plan in September, outlining a timeframe and budget to implement this plan. In the meantime I hope to have discussions with patients, staff and HSE officials to get their views on the HSE plan.”

“I want to make sure that this plan is best for patients. If the HSE closes St. Senan’s, we must ensure that these new proposals are in place first. The likelihood of a small acute admission unit is slim, the HSE feels that such a unit is unviable from a patient care or financial point of view.”

“If the HSE fulfil their promise to implement this plan, and if the medical evidence to support their plan stacks up, we may see a 21st century mental health service for County Wexford. The full implementation of this plan would see a broader range of healthcare professionals looking after Wexford people with mental health problems.”

“The HSE must show that this plan will:
1. Be better for patient care
2. Maintain the present healthcare staff and expand the number of healthcare professionals in County Wexford’s Mental
Health Services.
3. Ensure that all staff in St. Senan’s can work in the new facilities.”

“I have a lot of experience of the mental health service in County Wexford. I have seen the improvements that community psychiatry can deliver to patients. It is now time for all of us to take ownership of the proposed changes to make sure that we get the best mental health service for County Wexford.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey is concerned that County Wexford’s health services are coming under an increasing threat from the HSE.
“We now not only have patients on trolleys at Wexford General Hospital every day but we also have ward closures and our maternity services are under pressure as well. While the transformation programme seems to have stalled for the moment, Wexford people are still fearful of losing out to Waterford and Kilkenny.”
“The latest discussions in relation to health services in the South East, involve the setting up of what is called Integrated Service Areas (ISAs). The plan so far is for Carlow/Kilkenny and Clonmel to form one shared ISA and for Waterford and Wexford to form another. “
Dr. Twomey believes that this approach is completely unsuitable for County Wexford for a number of reasons. “Firstly, with the new motorway, Kilkenny is closer to Waterford than Wexford. Secondly, if Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary become one ISA, their population, at 221,000, is 18,000 less than the combined Wexford / Waterford population. In addition, South Tipperary patients will be able to go to other hospitals in Munster, thus easing the load in this ISA. However amalgamation with Waterford will not work for Wexford as North Wexford people will go to the nearer, but already overcrowded, Dublin hospitals.”
“From a practical medical viewpoint, the number of people that Waterford would be expected to treat would be unworkable. Wexford’s population increases by about 40 to 50,000 during the summer, and it is at the junction for the major road routes from Europe and the UK. So what I believe is required is for Wexford County and parts of Wicklow to be one ISA. This would be far more sustainable in the long term and beneficial to the people of both County Wexford and Wicklow.”
“Unfortunately, the HSE continues to make decisions based on politics and not on the best outcomes for patients and I urge the HSE and the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney to look at the patients behind the statistics, before making a final decision on this issue.”

Friday, June 25, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has said that he is disillusioned that a HSE training fund is under garda investigation. “This €2.35 million fund reportedly paid for 31 overseas trips for union officials, Departments of Health and Finance officials and HSE officials as well as all their spouses.”

“The public are cynical about state funded expenses and trips. They have seen the Fas expenses scandal and the general mismanagement of public funds during the Celtic Tiger. They also see the banks being bailed out by a public that have suffered due to the actions and poor judgement of the top bank officials. However the public do not see these same people who are responsible for causing the economy to crash being held to account. These officials may have stepped down but they did not pay a price and still walked away with a six figure pension. At the same time the public saw the value of their own pensions, through no fault of their own, disappear.”

“The public do not want long drawn out investigations with only partial truths coming out. They want an immediate end to the “people at the top” getting all the perks, while at the same time showing no responsibility for the mistakes -the big mistakes -that were made. As politicians we have to do the right thing by the people who elected us and under a Fine Gael government, we would make positive reforms to prevent the public becoming so disillusioned as to disengage completely from the democratic process. Under our New Politics policy, we would also ensure that senior executives of State bodies do not receive so-called “golden handshakes” when they leave a job because of failures in their performance.”

“As politicians, it is important that we lead in embracing this reform that will result in increased accountability and openness for public representatives and state officials.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey has again raised his concerns regarding health services in County Wexford. “I am particularly concerned about the conditions currently in the A & E Department in Wexford General Hospital and the closure of St. Senan’s, due in February 2011, along with other mental hospitals, throughout the country.”

“During this month, a number of patients have been on trolleys in the A & E peaking at between 12 and 21 patients on trolleys this past week. This is due to the closure of St. Aidan’s Ward as a cost saving measure. The A & E is not set up to deal with this number of patients. Whereas the staff have to work under these difficult conditions, the patients are the ones that are the biggest losers. Waterford Regional also had a number of patients on trolleys this week and this is where County Wexford patients are supposed to go if our A& E is closed at night? This is typical of the HSE: putting balance sheets before patients.”

“As well as our hospital being overcrowded, Wexford’s mental health services are also in trouble. While St. Senan’s is due to close next February, no alternative acute psychiatric unit has been put in its place in County Wexford. It seems strange that one agency in the State, the Mental Health Commission, can dictate that these centres are supposed to close next year while on the other hand, another State agency, the HSE, states it has no money to provide alternative accommodation.”

“The HSE says on its website that “The main focus of Wexford Mental Health Services is to develop community based services which are accessible and acceptable to service users in line with Vision for Change.” This all sounds very well but it seems that the HSE is again missing the point: when a person has an acute psychiatric episode, community based psychiatric services cannot treat the patient. The person needs to go into hospital, as they may be experiencing hallucinations and delusions and they may also be a danger to themselves.”

“My concerns are that not only will County Wexford patients have to travel to Waterford or, in the case of mental health patients to Kilkenny, but that when they get to these hospitals, they will be essentially squeezed in to existing overcrowded facilities and that will not work. County Wexford needs an acute unit in Wexford General Hospital and a 24 hour A &E Department.”

“I urge the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney to give me answers to this disastrous state of affairs for health services in County Wexford!”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey has said that he is disappointed that an extension of the bank guarantee scheme is necessary.

“The European Commission will decide before the end of this month if it will extend the bank guarantee scheme until December 31st, as the government’s guarantee for senior debt which has priority over unsecured debt is due to end on September 2010.”

“Minister Brian Lenihan first issued the guarantee for €400 billion of bank liabilities during the credit crisis in September 2008. It was to last for two years and it is disappointing that it now has to be extended until the end of the year. The European Commission would like to see an end to the bank guarantee but at the moment Ireland still has to have this guarantee in place. “

“Unfortunately, the banks still need the guarantee as the international market is not making funding available to Irish banks at the moment. Despite what the government says the facts are that our finances are still not on the road to recovery and the banks are still not supporting small and medium Irish businesses. With over 4000,000 people unemployed in the country and over 18,500 in County Wexford, the government needs to implement policies that will stimulate the economy and create jobs. Unlike the government, Fine Gael has produced its New Era policy which could create up to 105,000 jobs country wide. “

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Fine Gael’s Senator Liam Twomey has welcomed a new beginning for Wexford Creamery.

“Recent events have seen the milk producers increase their stake in the creamery from 20% to 70%, making the farmers who supply the milk the majority shareholders of Wexford Creamery. This will help copper fasten jobs locally and protect the future of Wexford Creamery.”

“It is important that a serious commitment is made to agri industry in County Wexford. The loss of the sugar beet sector had a huge impact on the agri economy in county Wexford. This county produces top class agri products and the farmers who produce excellent milk are vital to the cheese production in County Wexford.”

“I would like to wish the farmers continued success in all their work to date and would also like to wish everyone at Wexford Creamery every success in their new venture for the future.”

Friday, June 4, 2010


Speaking in the Seanad this week, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that comprehensive whistleblowing legislation is needed in this country for all sectors. Dr. Twomey said that Transparency International Ireland (TI Ireland) has found in its report that there are currently so many loopholes in Irish law that most people in business or the public service are effectively stopped from reporting wrongdoing or raising concerns in the public interest.
“While I recognise that there are legal issues in putting whistleblowing legislation together, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has stated that he believes that there is a need for whistleblowing legislation. The DPP understands that these obstacles can be overcome, unlike the government. The UK's Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 applies to the private and public sectors equally (except for information covered by the Official Secrets Act) and has operated successfully for more than ten years. Perhaps we should examine the UK legislation in this regard. UK legislation can often be relatively easily transferred into the Irish context because our legal systems are so similar.”
Dr. Twomey added, “I believe that there are a number of ways in which legislation could be made to work. For example, a potential whistleblower could contact a regulatory body which could then make inquires. All of these inquiries could be made away from the glare of public discussion in the media. If the information turns out to be true, it can be made public in whatever forum is deemed necessary such as the courts or the Oireachtas. If the information was given in bad faith for some reason - the person concerned might have been trying to manipulate the facts for personal gain, for example - it could be quietly disregarded.”
“The public want accountability and transparency from the top down in all sectors: public, private and banking and we as politicians need to lead the way in this regard. People want to be able to report wrongdoing and to feel safe in doing so, without fear of reprisals from colleagues. They want to see people being brought to account in this country as people with money and power have been seen to and are continuing to get away with it for too long. We need the government to give us the Attorney General’s opinion on why the whistleblowing obstacles are genuine and, ultimately, to produce legislation on this issue.”

Monday, May 17, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael believes that public sector workers have an issue with trusting the Government to fulfil its side of the Croke Park Deal. Speaking in the Seanad, he said that there is a need to stabilise industrial relations across the public sector and to commence implementation programmes that underpin this deal in the immediate future. “The reason for this is that productivity and competitiveness within the entire economy are greatly influenced by the public sector. If we do not deal with the industrial disputes that are taking place at present or if we fail to introduce reforms as a matter of urgency, this will affect our ability to emerge from the recession.”
“The Government must ensure that they retain the public and civil services’ positive aspects while implementing the reform programme. For this reason it is important that public servants can buy into the deal. However despite reassurances that those who earn less than €35,000 per annum will be the first to benefit from any economic improvements that may occur as a result of the deal’s implementation, the unions which represent the lower paid within the civil and public service were the first to reject the deal.”
Dr. Twomey pointed out that the cutbacks to services provided by public servants such as home helps, special needs assistant, nurses and junior doctors are having an impact on frontline services for the people who need them. “The mismanagement of our economy that will see us borrow hundreds of million of euros over the next five years will not just affect public sector workers but all taxpayers can expect higher taxes and less services in the years to come. Therefore, I believe that the Government needs to acknowledge its role in causing this bad situation for public sector workers by saying sorry to them. As the Taoiseach Brian Cowen showed last weekend, he does not seem to believe that he must apologise for anything, not even to the public servants and service users who the government has put in this mess in the first place. All the gains public sector workers made from the first and second benchmarking processes have effectively disappeared as a result of the Government’s mismanagement of the economy. Soon the interest costs on our national debt will be the same as the cost of running the Department of Education; this is a crisis we cannot ignore.”

Friday, May 14, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has called again on the government for an immediate review of our prison system. Dr. Twomey said “Our prisons are not full of drug dealers and gangland criminals but full of people who do not pay small fines. They are also full of non-nationals awaiting deportation from the country because the deportation system is moving too slowly.”
“Holding people in prison for non-violent offences is not the answer. Ireland systematically overuses imprisonment as punishment, and we need to look at alternatives. Dr. Mary Seymour, School of Social Science and Law, DIT told Oireachtas members that in 2008, prisoners serving sentences of less than six months accounted for 62% of the total committals under sentence. She also said that the nature of offending for short term prisoners suggests that there is the potential to impose community-based sanctions without compromising on public safety and protection. The government needs to look at the use of fines, community service orders and probation orders amongst other sanctions as an alternative to custodial sentences for non-violent crimes.”
Dr. Twomey added that the practice of holding immigration detainees has been condemned in the past by the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture. “They have said that “A prison is by definition not a suitable place in which to detain someone who is neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence."
“At a cost of roughly €2,000 per week to jail offenders, I am calling on the government to review current practice. There is a financial need for this review for us, as tax payers. However there is also a need for those who are imprisoned for non-payment of fines. The negative impact of prison on these people cannot be underestimated.”
Prison should be kept for violent crimes and serious crimes should get serious time in prison, not the revolving door we seem to have at present.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


In the Seanad on Tuesday, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Health and Children to clarify if the 24 hours a day, seven days a week accident and emergency services at Wexford General Hospital are under threat. Outlining the number of cut backs that the county is expected to endure, Dr. Twomey said, “A number of acute beds at Wexford General Hospital were closed during the past 12 months, and now there are plans to close a 25 bed ward at Wexford General Hospital this summer. This is all on top of closing St. Senan’s Psychiatric Hospital next February, without an alternative acute psychiatric unit in place in the county.”
Dr. Twomey is also extremely worried by the comments made by the Minister in a meeting with Oireachtas members on Tuesday. “Dr. Colm Quigley, who is responsible for the transformation of health services in the south east, stated at this meeting that he would not be able to keep accident and emergency departments or maternity units open unless he breaks the European working time directive until 2012. When challenged, the Minister for Health and Children stated she would not allow the European working time directive to be broken.”
Dr. Twomey said that we are already fighting for the retention of a 24 hour A & E service in Wexford General Hospital but if what the Minister says is true it will lead to a massive reduction of services in accident and emergency departments throughout the country. In this case, the A & Es in Waterford and Dublin hospitals, which are supposed to be the alternative for Wexford people are also under threat. The Minister must explain what she intends to do as soon as possible.”
Dr. Twomey also explained “If Wexford’s A & E services are reduced, it will put patients’ lives at risk and certainly cause significant morbidity among patients because the ambulance service is not ready to take up the slack in transferring patients between Wexford and Waterford and Dublin. Additionally, Caredoc is not geared to take over the role of dealing with accident and emergency cases. In any case, no discussions have taken place between Caredoc and the HSE regarding Caredoc’s help in providing out-of-hours accident and emergency services.”
Dr. Twomey pointed out that the perception of the County Wexford people is that they are being treated in an underhand fashion by the Government and that they are almost being deliberately misled about plans for the future of the county’s health services. “The Government is allowing the issue regarding the A & E to fester before making a decision at the last minute. This is no way to treat the patients or people of County Wexford.”

Friday, April 30, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Taoiseach and his government to be more honest with the people about the economy and the banks.

In the Seanad this week, Dr. Twomey urged the government to respond to the concerns that the international money markets still have about our economy.
“By bailing out the banks, we are compromising the ability of the people to get out of the financial doldrums in which they find themselves. Interest rates on mortgages are increasing, but rates on deposit accounts are dropping. Every 0.25% rates rise adds a significant burden to the mortgage repayments of hard-pressed taxpayers, the same people who have seen income and pension levies and increased taxes because of the mistakes made by the current Governments.

“People have noticed that the banks have now gone back to business as usual, putting up interest rates, cutting deposit rates and going back to a business as usual attitude. However, they are still not providing credit to small businesses. This is no more evident than in Wexford town itself, with the Chamber of Commerce recent survey revealing 27 empty retail units along the Main Street and its side streets. The response by the Taoiseach to this attitude by the banks, having bailed them out to the tune of €54 billion, is pathetic and is a sad reflection on the Government that it allowed this to happen so easily.”

Dr. Twomey also pointed out that the future of the economy is still not secure and deflation is still happening. “We must be much more honest with the public. Deflation is a problem over the medium to long term because we are in the eurozone. In this regard, we must look at the future of the euro currency and the impact it will have on the economy, events outside our control and our ability to recover. We need jobs and growth and possibly even inflation in order to come out of the financial doldrums. Although the euro has saved us to some extent, in other ways it is holding us back. I want a debate with the Minister of Finance about our role within the euro system and where we fit within it.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey wants politicians to be proactive about ensuring that more women become involved in politics.

Currently in the Dail, women make up 14% of the TDs. In the mid-1990s, the average participation rate for women elected to the Lower House in the EU was 16% but has now increased to 24%. Therefore, Ireland is ten percentage points behind the EU average. However Dr. Twomey believes that these figures can improve just like improvements were made in participation of women in his profession of medicine. “This happened, not because anybody wanted to change the system but because 75% of medical students were women. Therefore, the majority of doctors graduating were women and the system had to change to fit in with the lives of female doctors.”

Dr. Twomey pointed out that politics is a macho profession and it is all about long nights, staying out at night at meetings and is essentially anti- family. “What happens when more women are involved in politics is that there is more discussion on social issues rather than on purely economic issues and the way politics is delivered changes as well. However, the only way we will effect change is by actively placing women in roles of responsibility, both elected and non-elected, in the political system. If this is done, the ethos in politics will change significantly. Failing this, however, there will not be any change. That is why in large constituencies like county Wexford, I would like to see Fine Gael endeavour to give the opportunity to voters to vote for a woman candidate. ”

Dr. Twomey believes that the use of quotas and list systems can lead to this change. “The political structure is not family friendly for fathers or mothers. During my time as a Member of the other House I found politics an incredible burden. I had three very young children at the time and found that considerable effort was required to try to balance being a politician and a father. As politicians, we must try to actively encourage change. It is time to reactivate positive action to change the public’s mindset and ensure that women will want to become involved in politics.”

Friday, April 23, 2010


While Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey welcomed the fact that AIB’s Mr. Boucher had decided not to exercise the option of retiring at the age of 55, effectively giving up his controversial €1.5m pension fund top-up, Dr. Twomey pointed out that it shows how incredibly weak the Taoiseach and the government are in taking the banks on.

“It was the public’s anger that forced Mr. Boucher to give up his pension top-up. All the Taoiseach did was to make it clear that he could do nothing about the matter legally. At the moment, we see that the banks are running riot. They, rather than the Government, are in control of the restructuring of the banking system. I am calling on the Taoiseach or at least the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan to show moral backbone in the taking on of senior officials in the banking sector.”

Dr. Twomey added, “In the next budget, the Government had already planned to cut expenditure by €1 billion. But now that Eurostat has released figures stating that Ireland had the biggest government deficit in the EU last year, at 14.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), further cuts will need to be made. The 4 billion euro given to Anglo Irish Bank is no longer regarded as a financial investment by the EU and must be recorded as capital spending. This means that more money has to come out of the tax payer’s pocket again. As the government consistently goes for the easy option, it will no doubt want to cut the pay of public sector workers or cut payments to social welfare recipients. If we allow this carry-on by a weak government and by the banks to continue in the meantime, and if the people believe the banks are getting away with murder, there will be no public appetite for further cuts in Government spending. In fact, public confidence in the economy and people’s security are hit even more, when the government consistently shows that its figures are wrong and another ‘adjustment’ has to be made.”


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael calls on all stakeholders to get involved in the future role that co-ops will play in Irish society. He specifically calls for a debate in Seanad Eireann for the Government to give their views on their policy for co-ops in the 21st Century.
“At present, agribusiness PLCs are decoupling from their co-ops to position themselves as businesses that only respond to shareholders needs which means they only need to focus on profit.”
“The co-op ethos on the other hand is about the needs of its members and the wider community it serves. It is about developing a market for the co-op members and its priority is not solely profit motivated.”
Dr. Twomey explained, “In the last few years when prices for agricultural produce were low, many PLCs supported the milk prices paid to farmers with the profits from other high end products in the PLC. This support mechanism will go when the PLC is decoupled.”
“Co-ops developed out of necessity when farmers were unable to sell their produce at a fair price over a century ago. The amalgamation of small co-ops in the sixties lead to bigger co-ops that were able to establish PLCs to bring in outside investors that lead to the success of agribusiness PLCs as we know them today.”
Dr. Twomey says that co-ops are still very important from a socioeconomic viewpoint to rural society, in county Wexford and elsewhere, as well as from a food security standpoint and they are crucial as economic entities. “What is happening in agribusiness at present is much bigger than anything we have talked about concerning rural communities over recent months.”
“The government must be proactive and look for future problems. If anything were to go wrong in the future with co-ops because they were undercapitalised, had taken on too much debt or did not have proper business plans, the taxpayer could end up having to bail them out or else they would fail, which would be to the detriment of rural communities in county Wexford and indeed throughout the country.”
“Growing up on the family farm in the seventies and having family connections with co-ops and PLCs, I have seen and admired the revolutionary changes that occurred in the agricultural sector over the last four decades. However we are now at a new era in agribusiness and we must all go forward with our eyes open to the potential problems that could mar future successes.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010


On Thursday April 22nd at 8pm in the Talbot, Dr. Liam Twomey is holding a meeting where he and Dr. James Reilly will discuss Fine Gael’s health policy, FairCare.

Dr. Twomey explained that FairCare proposes real reform of our health system. "FairCare can deliver an improved health system for all without additional costs to the tax payers. There are a number of problems with the health system at the moment. This results in patients suffering due to long waiting lists, and trolleys in A & E departments. "

“Under Fianna Fail’s current system of fixed budgets with no incentives, every hospital gets an annual budget based on the previous year’s budget. Therefore each patient is effectively a “cost” to the hospital, and reduces the overall pot of money available for other patients and services. Hospitals are basically penalised for treating more patients. Fine Gael’s health policy proposes that Ireland should move over time, to an alternative tariff-based scheme where the health service providers are paid based on the number of patients they treat; a system where “money follows the patient.” The key advantage of such an approach is that patients become a source of “income” rather than a “cost”. The more patients that are treated, the more money a hospital receives.”

Dr. Twomey pointed out that this system has worked in other countries such as Sweden and Australia and has resulted in both a reduction in waiting times and lengths of stay in hospital. “This policy of “money follows the patient” makes the patient the centre of the health system. Under Fianna Fail and their health policies, saving money without regard to the impact on the patient seems to be their main strategy. We have seen this first hand in Wexford: whereas it’s right to move orthopaedics, breast surgery and lower colon surgery to Waterford, the current threat on our 24 hour A & E services is simply a cost cutting mechanism.”

“Radical reform of our health system is the only way we can solve the problems that successive Fianna Fail governments that have neglected our Health Service have caused. I invite everyone to come along to hear about FairCare and to give us their opinions on our proposals,” said Dr. Twomey.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Twomey raised issues regarding the provision of mental health services in County Wexford with the Minister of State, Deputy John Moloney in the Seanad this week.

Acknowledging the need to close St. Senan’s hospital because of the poor facilities which are available in this hospital, Dr. Twomey said however that he is not keen on the plan envisaged at the moment. “Under that plan, patients from County Wexford must go to either Carlow or Waterford to receive treatment and the Government has no plans to build an acute unit on the grounds of Wexford General Hospital. That is another backward step because while many patients can be treated in the community, there is a need for an acute admissions unit for those who suffer an acute psychiatric crisis. They need immediate help and proper in-patient care when such a thing happens. A large unit would not be necessary, things have moved on, and patient stays in acute units can be considerably shortened. There should, however, be an acute unit on the grounds of Wexford General Hospital because the county has a population of over 130,000, with a huge transient population. In the past I have dealt with acute psychiatric crises among those passing through the county. That can be more difficult because they have no family support or company when the episode occurs and there is a need for immediate transfer.”

Dr. Twomey also called on the Minister of State to look at the way patient transfers are being carried out. “At the moment, there can be significant delays for the patients most at risk, waiting on the HSE team to arrive. I would be concerned that if St. Senan’s closed completely and the delays that can happen with the HSE team at present continue, we could find ourselves in a worse situation with the patients that need the highest level of care during an acute episode.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has expressed concern about the effect that the continuation of the public sector crisis will have on the economy over the coming year. As a result of his concern, he called for an urgent debate on the issue of the public sector dispute in the Seanad this week but it was defeated by the government senators who voted against the debate.

Dr. Twomey pointed out that discussions are underway between the Government and the public sector union leadership but the Opposition has no idea what is happening in those negotiations. “We have all received representations from public sector workers who are concerned about these pay cuts. I, like other public representatives in county Wexford, have received a letter from the leadership of the IMPACT union that issued veiled threats about what it would do at the next general election if we do not support them. I say to the leadership of the public sector unions that we do not even know what it wants to negotiate on. Even though some people in this House support the public sector unions in this industrial action, the public sector unions themselves are not engaging with the Opposition to any degree.”

Dr. Twomey added, “There is a concern that a divide is arising between public and private sector workers. This industrial action will only ensure a divide between the public sector and the general public. The people who need the help the most are the ones that are being the most badly affected by the dispute. The people that come to public reps for help only come because they have exhausted all avenues themselves and are having difficulties either financially or medically. When the public sector workers send back unopened my letters of representation for my county Wexford constituents, they are causing problems for my constituents, not the government politicians.”

Dr. Twomey called on the unions to let the opposition public representatives know what they aim to achieve in the negotiations with the Government. “The government will not tell us anything so it’s important for the unions to engage with us so that we have some idea what is happening at the moment.”

Friday, March 19, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey is very disappointed and worried that the Department of Transport is planning on downgrading the South East’s Coast Guard Search and Rescue Service. “The plan is to downgrade the 24 hour service to a 12 hour service. The aim seems to be to reduce costs and this move will result in savings of 1 million euro. This is a very small saving when we are talking of giving billions of tax payers’ money to the banks.”

Dr. Twomey added that the other three services in the country at Dublin, Sligo and Shannon will continue to operate on a 24 hour basis. “Given that there are three ports in this area: Cork, Rosslare and Waterford, I question what criteria the Transport Department has used to decide that the South East will be the rescue service that will be downgraded.”

“If a fishing crew gets into trouble when the service is not in operation, who will go to this crew’s rescue? The entire south and south east coasts will have no rescue service. Sligo and Dublin would be too far away to be able to offer a suitable rapid assistance. “

Dr. Twomey also pointed out that time and again, we see this government put cost before saving people’s lives. “However, they do not show such reticence at spending money when it comes to saving the lifestyles of their banker friends.”

Friday, March 12, 2010


After the meeting with the HSE this morning, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey said that there was no clear indication from the HSE that it still fully understands the importance of the A & E Department at Wexford General Hospital for the people of Wexford.

“Concerns were raised by both the HSE and Dr. Colm Quigley about manpower issues for the hospital that relate to the European Working Time Directive. They also discussed the transfer of services from Wexford General Hospital to Waterford Regional Hospital. The HSE did give an undertaking that they would come back to the Oireachtas members before the final report was published but there is still a need for the people of Wexford to remain vigilant and for that reason, I fully support the people of Wexford having another public meeting. “

Dr. Twomey added “The politicians had their say at the last meeting. This time the doctors, nurses, admin staff, patient representatives and other health care staff should do the talking at the podium on this occasion. I am willing to make my contribution towards paying for the logistics in organising this meeting that includes room hire, advertising, posters etc. I hope that all politicians and political parties will support this stand because we must all work together to ensure that the HSE is clear about our message of how important our hospital is to all of us in County Wexford.”


Fine Gael’s Dr Liam Twomey has welcomed that talks between representatives of the Government and the public sector unions are to get under way to try to resolve the dispute over Government pay cuts.

Dr Twomey said he hopes the talks will allow the unions to defer their strike action.
‘Any strike will reduce productivity in the economy. If productivity is reduced, our competitiveness will be reduced and if that happens, more people will lose their jobs in the coming months. Wexford cannot afford any more job cuts. The government deficit is already massive and we are heading towards bankruptcy, Public sector workers have taken a disproportionate hit in the last two budgets that must be acknowledged. Unfortunately, the Governments part of the economy is the part that is the greatest mess. It’s important that the pay cuts are fair to both the lower paid and those at the higher end o the scale.’

Most of the public throughout the country and in County Wexford have been badly affected by the work to rule action taken, but Dr Twomey has said that these talks should be seen as a great chance to make positive changes in the public sector.
‘This should not be seen as just talks about pay, but should be seen as a chance to transform the public sector. Morale is low at the moment as the public service has been singled out for blame by the private sector and the public in general.

These talks can change the public service into a service that is more efficient, transparent and accountable. The Taoiseach and the unions missed this opportunity in the past. This missed opportunity to genuinely reform the public sector under Bertie Ahern’s leadership has contributed to the present crisis.
This time it is a make or break issue.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has called for a proper debate on the proposed pensions plan published on Wednesday.

“There is a need for the government to explain about these proposals to the people. I have been paying into a private pension plan for the last 15 years. That fund is now worth two thirds of the amount of money I have paid into it. There has been no growth or interest. The Government is saying it wants the same fund managers to manage the future pensions of low-paid workers in the same way. Low-paid workers cannot afford to take such a hit. The government needs a more risk free pension plan for low paid workers.”

Dr. Twomey pointed out that not only will employees be put under pressure to pay in to a pension that has no guarantee of a return but also the employer will have to pay towards the pension of each employee. At a time when employers are under pressure, when wages are one of the highest costs, the government is adding more to their bills. “Employer organisations claim that they will have to find the money through either pay cuts or productivity savings.”

“There is no doubt that this is a big issue for the future; young people with over forty years to wait for a pension need to prepare now. Other workers and indeed those who are not working must also engage in this debate as it will cost them now but there is no certainty of what the future holds.”

Dr. Twomey added that alot of people from Wexford had contacted him regarding the big hits that their pension funds have taken. “We have to ensure that this does not happen again and I will continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that there is a proper debate before these proposals become finalised.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has urged the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan to explain to the people why there is not more transparency in relation to the banks.

Dr. Twomey said “The banking inquiries that are currently being carried out on behalf of the Government are taking place behind closed doors. The Government’s terms of reference prohibit any investigation of the fateful night in September 2008 when the Taoiseach saddled future generations with massive debt. Last Friday, the Minister for Finance published his budget outlook for the next couple of years. However, he made no allowance for the recapitalisation of the Irish banks. When the Minister published his outlook for the next couple of years last Friday, one can imagine the howls of derision if he had neglected to include a figure for the Department of Education and Science. In this case, he has made no allowance for the fact that the taxpayers of this State will have to come up with billions of euro to recapitalise the banks. I will continue to put pressure on the Taoiseach and the Minister so that those we represent can be properly informed about what is going on. Too much is happening behind closed doors. Taxpayers, who are footing the bill and are paying for the banks’ mistakes, are getting the rawest deal going for future generations.”

Dr. Twomey also pointed out that the Minister for Finance is misleading the public when he claims that everything is fine because Europe supports us. “The truth of the matter is that Europe does not support us. All Europe supports is that we do not cost it money; it does not care if we pauperise ourselves for the benefit of developers and senior bankers.”

Dr. Twomey added “We are putting our children’s futures at risk by pouring so much money into the banks but also in the short term, the policies are not delivering. SMEs with a good credit history are still finding it difficult to get credit from the banks. County Wexford has already been hit hard by the number of businesses that have closed in the last couple of years. Unemployment is at 18,837 in the county, which has more than doubled since January 2008. The Government must admit its mistakes before it’s too late for small and medium businesses and their employees across county Wexford and so I want the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach to explain themselves,” stressed Dr. Twomey.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey welcomes the Government’s decision to close St. Senan’s Hospital and to move patients to a more modern care facility.
However Dr. Twomey expressed concern about the government’s sincerity in announcing this move as this proposal has been part of the Vision for Change policy document for a number of years.
He called on the government to show its commitment to real change for mental health patients. “The government should start construction immediately on a new unit at St. John’s Hospital, Enniscorthy for long stay psychiatric patients and it should also begin construction on a new acute psychiatric unit at Wexford General Hospital. This is what I expect the government to do if it is serious about its announcement yesterday. Mental Health Services across all levels, that includes primary care level, acute hospital care level and long stay care level, all need continuous investment to provide the necessary care for mental health patients in County Wexford. I now call on the Government to make a real commitment to Mental Health Services in a way that the people of county Wexford can believe in.”


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey welcomes the Government’s decision to close St. Senan’s Hospital and to move patients to a more modern care facility.
However Dr. Twomey expressed concern about the government’s sincerity in announcing this move as this proposal has been part of the Vision for Change policy document for a number of years.
He called on the government to show its commitment to real change for mental health patients. “The government should start construction immediately on a new unit at St. John’s Hospital, Enniscorthy for long stay psychiatric patients and it should also begin construction on a new acute psychiatric unit at Wexford General Hospital. This is what I expect the government to do if it is serious about its announcement yesterday. Mental Health Services across all levels, that includes primary care level, acute hospital care level and long stay care level, all need continuous investment to provide the necessary care for mental health patients in County Wexford. I now call on the Government to make a real commitment to Mental Health Services in a way that the people of county Wexford can believe in.”

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has vowed to keep the pressure on the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney and the HSE regarding Wexford’s General Hospital A & E. “As an Oireachtas member, I have been told that no decision has yet been made regarding the closure of the A & E and I hope that this is the case. I firmly believe that the A & E in Wexford should remain a 24 hour facility and should not be reduced to operating between 8am and midnight.”
Dr. Twomey, referring to Ennis Hospital losing its acute services last year between 8pm and 8am, said that comparisons cannot be made between Ennis and Wexford. “Ennis is a far smaller hospital with only about 70 beds. Wexford has over 200 beds and has major specialities.”
Dr. Twomey said that the HSE are putting a spin on the low numbers of patients being seen in Wexford’s A & E between midnight and 8am in the morning. “But the HSE is ignoring the fact that the patients that come to A & E during those hours are the sickest patients, who would then have to travel a minimum of 1 hour to Waterford or perhaps even a couple of hours to a Dublin hospital. Even though we have a good ambulance service with many of the ambulance drivers being trained up to paramedic level, there is just not enough capacity in the ambulance service to be able to move patients these distances while still maintaining an ambulance service for the county.”
Dr. Twomey added that we are spending 16 billion annually on our health system, so the money is being spent but it is a question of using this money in the best way so that patients get the best care. “Savings can be made in other ways. Closing the A & E at night will only result in putting the sickest patients at risk. Wexford lost acute orthopaedic surgery and breast cancer surgery to Waterford but Wexford GPs will not support any reduction in acute services. I, together with the other public representatives, will continue to fight to ensure that there will be no reduction in our acute services in Wexford General Hospital.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


“This Thursday night 25th February in the Talbot Hotel at 7.30pm is your opportunity to have your say on the Banking crisis and other economic issues and their affect on businesses and people in County Wexford,” states Dr. Twomey.
Dr. Liam Twomey asks you to come along and share your views on what we must do for County Wexford.

“I need your support to prove that this issue and other economic issues matter”, stresses Dr. Twomey.

Dr. Twomey states
“I have five objectives for this meeting:
• The opportunity to discuss the banking crisis with you and how it is affecting Wexford’s economy
• I want to put together a report to send to the banking enquiry to outline Co. Wexford’s concerns
• I will raise issues in Leinster House that will highlight Wexford’s economic concerns
• If there are specific issues, I will raise those problems with the relevant Government department
• I will discuss solutions put forward on the night with Fine Gael’s economic spokesperson Richard Bruton.”

“I know your views matter and I look forward to seeing you on Thursday,” states Dr. Twomey

Friday, February 19, 2010


In the Seanad on Tuesday, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Eamon Ryan to discuss the potential negative effects the 3% levy for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) could have on jobs and the future viability of local radio stations.
Dr. Twomey said “Because of the recent legislation which has been passed, three radio stations across Ireland could end up being closed. The levy has already cost people their jobs and works against small local radio stations. The cost of running the BAI is equivalent to the turnover of three local radio stations.” He added that local radio stations are of great benefit to local communities. “We do not want to see two or three go out of business because of a levy which discriminates against smaller stations and which does not appear to have been fully thought through by the Minister.”
Given the fact that advertising revenue was down by 20-25% last year with another expected 5% decrease this year, the introduction of this levy is coming at a bad time for radio stations. This levy will fund the BAI with €7.4 million per annum.
“Our local radio station in county Wexford, South East Radio, provides a vital service and it is the same with local radio stations across the country. We should be doing our best to support these local businesses, during this difficult time, not putting more financial pressure on them”, said Dr. Twomey. The latest results from the JNLR survey shows that South East Radio has 50,000 adult listeners per day. It also has a weekly reach of 61% which equates to 67,000 weekly listeners over the age of 15. “These figures show how important South East Radio Station is to the Wexford community.”

Dr. Twomey has promised to continue to press this issue regarding the levy with Minister Ryan.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, TD, and the Taoiseach to clarify their knowledge of issues regarding NAMA at the time of its publication and its effectiveness in getting credit flowing to Irish businesses.
During the Order of Business in the Seanad last week, Dr. Twomey said, ‘Speaking on the day of publication of the NAMA legislation last September, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan, said NAMA would strengthen and improve the funding position of the banks in order that they could lend to viable businesses and households. This means it would get credit flowing. The Taoiseach said the Government’s objective in restructuring the banks was to provide access to credit for Irish businesses at a critical time. When both individuals were making these statements, they clearly had evidence to the contrary, that it would not get credit flowing or that there were concerns about whether it would get credit flowing.’
Dr. Twomey requested that the Taoiseach make a statement to clarify what he knew and the reason he withheld this information from the public. ‘Those of us currently working as well as our children and grandchildren will have to pay back this €47 billion and will own two defunct banks, so we need an answer from the Taoiseach.’
‘Due to our lack of competiveness, foreign companies have been leaving our shores to set up business in cheaper, more cost effective economies. Our own Irish businesses who are the real life blood of this country are suffering. The Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan announced that her department would ‘consider’ establishing a state loan guarantee scheme for SMEs to promote banks to lend to viable businesses. If NAMA was working in the way stated by the Minister last September, why is the Tanaiste looking at a state loan guarantee for SMEs,’ questioned Dr. Twomey. ‘A difficulty in accessing credit was cited as one of the main problems for businesses today so we need to deal urgently with this issue.’

Dr. Twomey added that County Wexford has been particularly badly hit by the closure of a number of small businesses. ‘The figures on the live register went up 3.8% in January and to add to that, we now have the closure of the English based Halifax bank branches in Gorey and Wexford town, with the loss of more jobs.’

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Short and unnecessary prison sentences a waste of time and money

Speaking in the Seanad Fine Gael Wexford Senator, Liam Twomey, said our prison policy is fatally flawed, with our prisons bursting at the seams and taxpayers spending millions each year on an utterly failed system.

“Our prison policy is an abysmal failure which is failing victims of crime, the perpetrators and the taxpayer shelling out an inordinate amount of money with little or no results.

“It costs somewhere in the region of €100,000 each and every year to keep an offender in prison and with our prisons bursting at the seams we have to ask ourselves if our recent prison policy is achieving its objective as a deterrent to committing crime.

“The annual report of the Irish Prisons Service 2008 showed that:
• of those incarcerated in 2008 a third were non-nationals, the majority of whom were awaiting deportation;
• There was an 88% increase in the numbers imprisoned for not paying fines;
• For the majority of prisoners, the average stay was approximately 4-12 months.

“Research shows that in difficult economic times an upsurge in property crime takes place. The latest CSO statistics on crime confirm that fact, indicating a rise in burglary, robbery and related offences. A comparison of Quarter 4 in 2009 and Quarter 4 2008 showed that burglaries rose by 8.8% and possession of an article with intent to burgle or steal was up by a staggering 39%.

“Fine Gael has long advocated a radical change in policy on crime including the creation and adoption of an alternative dispute resolution system to deal with the payment of debt.

“Hardened criminals view our current system as a soft-touch, administering three to four month prison stints. The emotional effects of such a stretch inside on those imprisoned for non-payment of fines can not and must not be underestimated.

“With a cost of roughly €2,000 per week to jail these offenders, it is patently clear that we need to review current practice which is neither cost effective nor a suitable deterrent. Real deterrents are needed to prevent crime with short or unnecessary prison sentence clearly a waste of time”.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has questioned the effectiveness and openness of the Banking Enquiry Commission. The Commission is due to be established in June after two reports have been completed, one by the Governor of the Central Bank and the second by a recognised expert or experts, who will conduct a preliminary investigation into the causes of the banking crisis.
Agreeing with his party leader, Dr. Twomey said that the remit of the initial reports does not mention the role that the Government had in creating the banking crisis. “We, the public, deserve to know about how and why the banking crisis came about but this needs to be done in an open and public manner. County Wexford has been very badly hit by the recession and the banking crisis. Looking along Wexford’s Main Street, you can see the number of small businesses that have closed down over the past couple of years. Last month, Wexford town had 6,629 people on the Live Register, an increase of 37.5% since December ‘08. This increase can in part be put down to the banks not offering the financial support that SMEs need.”

Dr. Twomey believes that this commission and report will be no different to previous investigations and reports produced by this Government: alot of tax payer’s money will be spent to pay the experts for the report but very little or any of the recommendations of the report will be implemented.


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has requested extra funding for Wexford County Council to help in their repair of the damage to the county’s roads after the snow and ice in December and early January. Speaking in the Seanad, Dr. Twomey called on the Taoiseach to respond to the need for emergency funding by local authorities, after Minster Dempsey insisted to the Transport Committee that “he did not have a pot of gold”.
During the Seanad’s Order of Business, Dr. Twomey said “We must deal with this problem as a matter of urgency. If the Minister cannot do anything, the Taoiseach should be invited to come before the House to explain why the Government cannot make emergency funding available to local authorities in order that they might repair the roads. If repairs are not carried out, certain roads will deteriorate to an unbelievable degree in the next few months and will eventually be closed. Billions of euro have been provided for the banks because it has been stated the finance system is so important. However, the country’s infrastructure is equally important. The Leader should invite the Taoiseach to address the Seanad to indicate why funding has not been made available for urgent repairs to roads throughout the country.”
Dr. Twomey acknowledged that secondary roads are the worst affected but pointed out the importance of infrastructure for local farmers and rural businesses and communities. “This will result in more economic damage to rural communities who have already suffered at the hands of the government’s budgets in 2008 and April of last year. The Transport Committee heard that the entire €411m budget which has been allocated for all surface repairs in 2010, is likely to be exceeded by the national emergency total alone.”
Dr. Twomey wanted to commend the individual County and Borough Council workers, who showed their commitment by all the hours that they put in over the holiday period in December and January. However he is concerned about Minister Dempsey’s defence of the government’s limited response to the recent severe weather and also by the council’s delay in declaring an emergency on 8 January, some 9 days after the heavy snow and ice on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. “With climate change, we are more than likely going to see this kind of weather again and we cannot have as slow or as limited a response the next time”.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has said that the situation in Wexford General Hospital is untenable with 26 people on trolleys in A & E, last week. “Since 2007, 19 beds have been closed in the hospital. When the Minister and the HSE make decisions to close wards in their Dublin offices, they just look at the statistics and not the people.”
He added that the patients on trolleys are suffering. When he has to send a patient to the hospital, the fact that the patient will be on a trolley is a serious consideration for him. He said that not only is it extremely difficult for the nurses to provide the nursing care that is needed, the patients are not being given the basic rights of dignity and privacy that all patients should be entitled to. It is also difficult for patients to sleep with constant movement of staff up and down the corridor. “If the closed St. Catherine’s’ Ward could be re-opened to allow patients to use the facilities in the Ward, patients would be more comfortable. Importantly, reducing the number of patients treated on trolleys decreases complications.”
Dr. Twomey believes that it is ridiculous that even during the “Tiger Economy” years we had these same overcrowding problems and the recession, with the Government’s cut in funds to Health, has resulted in a worsening of the situation. Rather than always going for the easy option of simply cutting patient beds and services, the Government should look at the actual savings that these measures make. In the US, it was shown that reducing the number of patients treated on trolleys resulted in a decrease in the overall length of stay for all patients – a real cost saving.
With over 500 patients nationwide on trolleys, Fine Gael has urged the government to urgently instruct the HSE to start contracting some of the 1,800 unoccupied nursing home beds to properly accommodate those people in acute hospital beds who need long stay care, among other measures. Dr. Twomey said that Fine Gael’s Fair Care health policy would result in a “money-follows-the-patient” budgeting system so that hospitals are paid for how many patients they treat. Patients will no longer be seen as “costs” to the health service, but as sources of “income”.