“I Find It Hard To Comprehend [Varadkar] Didn’t See Memo”


Then Director General HSE Tony O Brien (left) and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD at the publication of 2016 HSE National Service Plan in St Dr Steevens Hospital in Dublin.

This morning.

The resignation last night of HSE Director General Tony O’Brien after three HSE memos warning of the CervicalCheck scandal emerged has put the spotlight on Leo Varadkar

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier, speculated that Mr Varadkar, while Minister of Health in 2016, must have been privy the briefing notes, including one from March of that year outlining a ‘communication strategy’ for the media.

The Department of Health said no health ministers had seen those memos.

Audrey Carville: “Do you believe that the Minister for health at the time, March 2016. Leo Varadkar did not see this memo?

Micheál Martin: “My understanding is, he’s saying he didn’t see it. The Minister for Health is saying he didn’t…”

Carville: “Is that credible?”

Martin: “find it very difficult to comprehend because in the department’s statement last night it is saying it [the memo] was shared with the acute hospitals’ division of the department and it was shared with the Chief Medical Officer.

Now the department’s senior management team hold regular management meetings with the minister in attendance and the next question is: ‘was it ever discussed at central management meetings within the department with the Secretary General and the minister?'”

Listen back here




Last night: The March Memo


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24 thoughts on ““I Find It Hard To Comprehend [Varadkar] Didn’t See Memo”

  1. Not On Your Nelly

    Not a drop of gravy will be spilt, nor a bank balance disrupted. Ireland doesn’t have the ability to apportion blame or consequences or…

    1. Ron Dolan

      Of course it does. Ordinary people are held to account all the time.

      When you are linked to certain people, you just step between the raindrops.

      Tony O’Brien presided over a sick organisation and was well rewarded for a performance that might be called, if I am being kind, ”lacking”. Looking at some of his friends and where he going and who is linked to his destination is quite revealing. Ultimately, Tony carried out his role exactly as was requirement by establishment Ireland and was being well rewarded for it. For him to go on Twitter now to complain about committee performances display a level of disconnect that is common across a certain section of our public services and is a real concern. Ultimately, when someone is allowed a free reign without sanction and even protection from the people who are supposed to be representing US, its not hard to understand why people like O’Brien are the rule rather than the exception.

      Please go away Tony, your attitude stinks and your track record is shameful.

  2. Brian Dead

    Stony o’Brien Is actually a decent guy who has been hung out like a sacrificial goat


  3. Brother Barnabas

    last tweet from o’brien, this morning – doesn’t seem to think he did anything wrong:

    Tony O’Brien
    ‏ @dghealthservice
    4 hours ago
    When I appear in public – say at a Committee I conduct myself against a simple standard. Would I be happy for my children or my mother to see how I behave? I sometimes look across the room and hope their children will never see and hear how they behave.

    1. filly buster

      the audacity of him. the complete lack of empathy over this whole thing in general. and to think, during it all he was sitting their, looking at the people asking him about this awful tragic negligence, and he was thinking “how do these people look at their kids when they go home?” .. as if its a heinous crime to even question his involvement. utterly horrible, dispicable excuse of a man.

      1. Cian

        “awful tragic negligence”
        sigh. Perhaps, and this is just a random though. Perhaps O’Brien is best placed to know about Cervical Check, and it’s practices, it’s audits, it’s risk mitigations, it’s tendering processes, and also how it has performed over the last 15 years (relative to other countries screening). And, just perhaps, he is confident that Cervical Check will be completely cleared of alleged negligence.

          1. mary

            Bet cian works in the HSE accountability department
            As in the ability to do accounts by government definition but to all others a mythical land of pensions and expenses and golden handshakes

          1. realPolithicks

            I think “Cian” actually is Tony O Brien, its the only thing that makes any sense.

    2. realPolithicks

      Its a pity he didn’t apply the same “standard” to how he actually conducted himself in the job…you really couldn’t make this stuff up.

      1. mary

        But it is ,and its reality.
        Will we as a nation tolerate this.
        Well we tolerated the famine
        We tolerated the banks
        We tolerated the troika
        We will tolerate this

  4. GenerationScrewed

    Now he’ll be able to utter the words “I can’t recall” without any fear at all at the inevitable inquiry that will take place where no one will be held accountable and a series of “recommendations” are issued and €10s of millions in legal fees clocked up.

    Onwards and upwards to the next scandal!

    1. mary

      And already the HSE budget if all these legal cases are included is already spent.
      And they want a pay rise?
      As the state is indemnified by the smear test company, these women will face having to take on the US companies as the state hides behind not being able to do anything.
      These women will be facing going through court, but not by the state.by the US insurers.
      Mean while Harris and Varadkar slither off the hook

    1. mary

      I would say the paper shredder ,and hard drives suddenly are destroyed, wiped.
      Who can we blame? The Russian hackers.
      Late nights trying to destroy the paper trail, and the biggest bottom covering exercise.

  5. Termagant

    It’s somewhat minor in light of the appalling travesty that’s unfolded thus far but does it bother nobody else that Leo has the handwriting of a sugar-addled child?

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