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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.”