From top: Denis O’Brien took over the Beacon Hospital in 2014; Mick Barry in the Dáil yesterday
Leinster House, Dublin 2.
Socialist Party TD Mick Barry n the Dáil yesterday raised the government’s agreement with the Private Hospitals Association to use their members’ facilities for the treatment of both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 patients.
Mr Barry said:
“I welcome the fact that the State will have the use of the facilities of 19 private hospitals for the next three months.
The private hospitals, such as the Beacon Hospital owned by Denis O’Brien, the Hermitage Medical Clinic, Blackrock Clinic or the Bon Secours chain, should not be compensated for this.
The two-tier health system should not be dismantled this week and re-established in three months’ time.
Rather than develop these points in the limited time available to me, I wish to ask why the deal between the State and the Private Hospitals Association is, for the most part, a secret deal.
When the State does a deal with workers and their representative organisations, the details are usually published online, they are published in the newspapers and they are subject to scrutiny and public comment.
However, when the State does a deal with billionaires and wealthy corporations in this instance, the details are being kept secret. Why is that?
Is it because the deal has not been signed yet? Is it because the hospital association is insisting on commercial secrecy?
Is it because the Government thinks there may be public criticism of the sums involved? The details of the deal should be published immediately and the secrecy around it should stop.
Extraordinary powers have been granted to the State by the Dáil and they are in evidence over this two-week period of lockdown.
The overwhelming majority of the population is complying and will comply with restrictions in the interest of public health.
However, we should not blind ourselves to the abuse of Covid-19 special powers in other jurisdictions, nor should we blind ourselves to the abuse of special powers in this jurisdiction in the past.
This situation needs to be carefully monitored by organisations that defend the interests of workers, young people and oppressed groups and by those who defend civil liberties.
As a workers’ representative, I will do my best to help monitor this situation in the weeks ahead.”
Yesterday: Silver Chicken Comes Home To Roost