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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”.