Clare’s Independent TD Dr Michael Harty has confirmed that he will vote against the government’s budget announced earlier today.
Dr Harty said this evening: “I have listened carefully to the Minister Paschal Donohoe’s Budget 2019 speech particularly in relation to the section relating to the allocation of resources for our beleaguered Health Service.
I am very disappointed that funding for the Sláintecare reform programme was not specifically identified. Implementing Sláintecare lacks urgency and has no specific timeline on delivering expanded services to patients in the community or in our acute hospitals. The essential expansion of bed capacity to deal with increasing demand and all-year-round A&E overcrowding remains inadequate.”
“The expansion of medical card eligibility without any resolution of the GP manpower crisis or ensuring the sustainability of general practice shows a complete lack of knowledge of the difficulties facing primary care and places it under further stress. This will not serve the people well as it will result in longer waiting times for access to a GP and further add to the dissatisfaction of the public with the health service.
The unwinding of FEMPI is central to any expansion in general practice services. This emergency funding reduction was to be a short-term measure during the financial crisis. It was disproportionately applied to general practice and has been reversed for all other public servants at this point,” Dr Harty added.
He continued: “People of the Mid-West will have to endure several years of prolonged inadequate services due to the problems caused of 2008 reconfiguration of the health service without adequate forward planning. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Mid-West in this budget with regard to increased bed capacity.”
In a statement this evening, Dr Harty said: “Reflection on the performance of this Government during the past year in relation to rural Ireland, notably the issue of Post Office closures, has left many communities feeling ignored and struggling to cope with social and financial sustainability. The Government has not offered any practical support to allow the continuation and expansion of state services in these communities and consigned them to slow decline and oblivion. Rural Broadband is as distant as it was when this government was formed in May 2016.
The No Doctor No Village campaign which elected me to the Dail was a metaphor for the maintenance of rural services including medical, post offices and the roll out of broadband. My constituents deserve better. The absence of a statement on a sustainable future for rural Ireland in this budget greatly concerns me,” he said.
“There is still an expectation by this Government that the private sector will solve the housing crisis. It is essential that local authorities are given the freedom and financial resources that will allow them to deliver social and affordable housing.
Additionally, the statement made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday highlights the urgent need to address climate change, with only 12 years before irrevocable damage is done. This is not a budget with an interest in the future of our communities,” he added.
“This budget is uninspired. This budget is short-termist. This budget is ideologically driven. This budget is not fiscally sustainable. This budget is forgetting the people of rural Ireland. This budget, in short, is inadequate. It does not address the urgent needs of my constituents or the people of Ireland, I therefore cannot support Budget 2019,” Dr Harty concluded.