This morning.

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health.

Tony O’Brien, director general of the HSE, and Minister for Health Simon Harris are answering questions from TDs about the CervicalCheck scandal.

Watch live here.


“At the heart of the Cervical Check crisis is a lack of oversight, governance and accountability within the HSE and throughout our entire health system, from the Minister for Health down.

“The lack of legal accountability structures has allowed a culture of concealment and legal defensiveness to prevail in our health system. That has clearly worked against the best interests of patients, including the thousands of women who are now affected by the shambolic and appalling way that Cervical Check audits were carried out.

In the absence of meaningful legal reforms, simply appointing a new chief executive to head up the HSE once Tony O’Brien steps down in the coming weeks will be an entirely futile gesture.

For this reason, I am urging the Minister for Health Simon Harris to appoint an interim chief executive and to at the same time prioritise key accountability reforms recommended in the Sláintecare health report published a year ago by a cross-party Oireachtas committee which I chaired.”

Roisin Shortall, Social Democrats co-leader

Social Democrats

39 thoughts on “Still Here

    1. Andrew

      No thanks and Roisin isn’t interested in governing anyway.
      A proper health Minister would wield the axe and reform. Every manager should have to re-apply for their job and justify their role.No minister is prepared to bite that bullet and Roisin certainly wouldn’t. She is from that cohort.Roisn has NEVER had a job that was outside the state sector.
      Their are 4 layers of managers at porter level ffs!
      There are employees of the HSE at are holding this country to ransom and do not care of the fallout.

      1. Anomanomanom

        I can state for a fact your comment on the manager/porters is complete bull plop.

          1. Cian

            It’s like the school playground.

            Andrew – you made the original comment – can you provide any evidence that there are 4 layers of managers at porter level?

          2. Brother Barnabas

            hang on now, cian – that’s not how this works and you know it: once again, we provide the nonsensical assertions and you prove or disprove them. go now and do your part.

          3. Anomanomanom

            Well I work in a well known “establishment” in the health service so I know your statement is rubbish. The porters in my place of work have ONE manager, He then answers to head of all Non Clinical, then its the CEO. So there is literally Two people, with one actually being the porters manager, before CEO.

    2. bisted

      …hasn’t Shortall already held a Health Ministry…she would be as ineffectual now as she was then…

    3. Yep

      You 2 should really look into why she resigned as Junior Minister. It was based around the lack of support received to try and impose reform.

      Given all the tools, I think there are very few who could bring about the required changes needed. I believe she is 1 of them.

      1. bisted

        …just remind me…did Shortall resign before herself and the other labour trough snorkellers betray their voters or after?

        1. CoderNerd

          From my own memory, Shorthall resigned as Minister of State for Primary Care because O’Reilly (FG health min) was playing silly buggers and ordering certain constituencies to be bumped up in lists for clinics.

          Shorthall protested at this behaviour, received no backing from the Labour party, then resigned as min and left the Labour party.

          It caused a bit of scandal in the Dail, with connections to O’Reilly being made public and adding to the story. The phrase “no hand, act or part” had to be used.

          O’Reilly also appointed Tony O’Brien to the HSE, amid claims that proper protocols were not followed in the selection process.

      2. Andrew

        I know why she SAID she resigned. That is not why she resigned though. She bailed to save her seat and pretend she’s something she isn’t. Mission accomplished.
        If you seriously think the like of Roisin Shortall would reform any part of the public service you are deluded. She is part of that cohort, all her friends are, her voting block is.
        Snouts in the trough

        1. Yep

          Does your cynicsim cover every elected official? I have met her a few times, know people who know her well and being a constituent have seen a lot of the work she has put in.

          What you seem the believe is the exact opposite IMO.

          1. Andrew

            Do you work for the public service or a semi-state?
            I’m guessing you do and you will deny it probably. Pointless isn’t it?

        2. GiggidyGoo

          “That is not why she resigned though” – And you know this….how? Have you a letter from her.?

  1. Hansel

    What she’s saying makes some sense. This idea of “fire them” won’t work without meaningful reform/change. The next person in his position will just do everything the same, or maybe even worse.

    I’ve nothing against firing people who don’t do their job, but surely what we want from our health service is better accountability and performance, rather than a new hand at the same wheel.

    The priority shouldn’t be change-of-person, rather change-of-practice?

  2. LeopoldGloom

    What’s needed is a wholesale change from the top down.

    When the HSE was created, all of the district health boards didn’t shed their staff, instead numerous people were being paid to do the same things. They centralised without actually centralizing. They have outdated systems, poor IT, far, far too many admin/office staff, not nearly enough information officers (people who can manage the resources properly), not enough porters, nurses, doctors, etc etc.

    A lot of the same people have been there for decades showing various levels of incompetence and being moved sideways if not rewarded. This is not any one persons, fault, but a systematic failure that will keep on repeating itself until the entire organisation (just like every other public body) is completely reformed to suit today’s needs and futureproofed.

    1. Jake38

      Completely true.

      The sideways move is a classic response to incompetence in the HSE. It’s as predictable and regular as the 2 week total shutdown over Christmas/New Year.

    2. Frilly Keane

      Ah would ye stop

      The sideways move and even promotion to get the morons and jobsworths out’ve it goes on in every Govt Dept, Semi State, Quango, public sector set up

  3. Catherine costelloe

    MR o Brien , out of respect to the dead and terminally ill should step aside completely from this scandal and have no part in attempting to find out why he wasn’t informed . After all he allegedly first knew of this was listening to a news bulletin. An investigator should take all files from his office and take his statement and he should , without prejudice, be asked to step aside. Too little, too late now for you , Mr o Brien to try to resolve these awful, tragic cases.

    1. Andrew

      Mr. O’Brien is utterly irrelevant to this really. It’s ignoring the elephant in the room.

      1. Catherine costelloe

        I’m not so sure about that , Andrew. Vicky & Emma , both diagnosed with terminal cancer are earnestly asking for his removal, a step in right direction as we don’t do accountability in Ireland. He is very brazen and disrespectful , pretending to be a super solver in 8 weeks. Out! Out! Out!

        1. GiggidyGoo

          Super solver me whole. Check for black bin bags over the next few weeks, if he lasts that long.

  4. Kolmo

    Find a jurisdiction where the system simply works – for example Finland, similar population size, centuries of better governance than here – and copy their systems, lock, stock and barrel. Why not do that instead of drunkenly lurching from one mean-spirited horror scandal to the next nightmare. We aren’t special, we can reform.

    1. Andrew

      That would require multiple redundancies and inevitable strikes.
      No minister so far has had the courage to do so.

  5. filly buster

    O’Briens whole argument is “sure I didn’t know. It’s not my fault.” .. which should be even more reason to fire him (not ask him to step down) because he fuppin should know.

  6. Frilly Keane

    All a load of overheated reaction

    The lad is gone in 2 months anyway
    And will be replaced with a carbon copy of himself and all the other Kevin Cardiff’s in the high-end Candidate Pools

    Opposition and the Confidence Providers are just desperate to be heard and be seen to be critical of the Government

    It’s like throwing confetti at an armoured truck

    Save yere gusty indignation for yere branch meetings

  7. the bottler

    A meaningless Howlin is still spouting guff in the Dail. How long was he responsible for public sector reform? Apologies “responsible” is not the appropriate word.

  8. Frilly Keane

    All the same tho
    Tis nice ta’ be talking about an entirely different O’Brien lad

    I’d say those data analysing operatives have their hearts broken shifting through all the emails lately separating one from the other

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