THE government is in total disarray, according to Cork South West TD Michael Collins.
The Goleen deputy made the comments when explaining his decision to vote no confidence in the government in the recent Dáil vote.
‘I am aware that I am the only West Cork TD to have voted no confidence in the Government last week,’ he said. ‘But it is quite obvious by the activities and events of the last week that while there are many, many problems facing the people of this country, some members of the main government party are preoccupied with their own promotional opportunities and the party interests are being put before the interests of the Irish people.’ Describing the government as being in ‘disarray’, the deputy said several issues needed addressing ‘as a matter of urgency’.
‘The public health service in Ireland has never been in a worse position,’ he told The Southern Star. ‘People are waiting for two years or more for procedures such as cataracts and hip operations. Our A&Es are at crisis point. The government needs to reverse the changes implemented as part of the hospital re-configuration programme as a matter of urgency,’ he added.
He added that the treatment of the elderly is ‘disgraceful’, with families ‘being left with totally inadequate home help hours’.
Regarding agriculture, he said that 8,500 Irish farmers are waiting to be paid under Glas and 2,500 farmers are waiting to be paid under the AEOS schemes. ‘This is putting immense pressure on many farming families who have already paid their planners but have received no money from the department. The government applied the whip to its members in an attempt to stop an adequate compensation package being paid to grain growers,’ the deputy said. He added that rising fertiliser prices threaten farm incomes and nitrogen prices have risen by over €60 per tonne ‘yet our government does not appear to be putting pressure on the European Commission to create more competition in the EU fertiliser market’.
On housing he said: ‘I am meeting constituents every day of the week who are telling me horrific stories. ‘During the talks for government I raised the issue of the importance to rural areas such as West Cork of the Rural Social Schemes (RSS). The government did agree to include 500 new RSS positions in the Budget, but when they were announced a few weeks ago, 79 of these positions are going to Co Mayo and 39 are going to Cork. The injustice of this situation speaks for itself.’