Dáil, Leinster House.
Independent TD Michael McNamara (top) questioned Minister for Health Simon Harris (above):
“Minister, we’ve now reached a stage on our roadmap where we can have a McDonald’s but we can’t have a cancer screening. Is that satisfactory to you, as minister of health?”
Minister Harris replied:
“I wouldn’t be in anyway flippant in relation to this. The decision to suspend cancer screening was one taken by clinicians on public health grounds and what I have to satisfy…I don’t have a responsibility for McDonald’s but I do have a responsibility for the safety of the people in our health service, safety of the staff and the safety of the women and men of Ireland who use it.
At the moment the advice, not just in the Republic of Ireland, but in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland and New Zealand, I’ve yet to find another country where they’ve turned back on their screening programme.
I want to turn it back it on but I want to do it in a safe way. We’re being led by clinical advice and within two weeks, we;’ll have the non-Covid care plan fro the HSE, led by clinicians which will determine when is a safe and how they intend to recommence screening.”
Mr McNamara replied:
“In normal times you wouldn’t have the responsibility for McDonald’s but given the extraordinary powers this chamber gave you, it seems you have the responsibility for everything in your regulations….”
“And I would urge you, minister, to look at priorities because sometimes they don’t seem to make sense to ordinary people across this land. Thank you.”