'A feeble excuse': Sinn Féin TD blasts HSE chief for 'dress rehearsal' comment

'A feeble excuse': Sinn Féin TD blasts HSE chief for 'dress rehearsal' comment
HSE chief executive Paul Reid. File photo.

A Sinn Féin TD has criticised the HSE chief executive who will defend the health service's handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying they didn't have an opportunity to do a "dress rehearsal" for the outbreak.

Paul Reid of the HSE will make the comments at the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee today, which will focus on nursing homes and Gaeltacht areas.

More than half of Ireland's deaths from the virus were in nursing homes and care homes.

And the HSE boss will say there's a need for "very significant changes" to how vulnerable older people are cared for.

Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly, a member of the committee, says the comments are inappropriate.

"I think that's a fairly feeble excise," Ms O'Reilly said.

The job of the HSE, as well as managing the day-to-day health services, is to plan for exactly this kind of scenario.

"What I'd be saying to Mr Reid today is 'why didn't you do that planning?'

"It's not good enough to glibly say we didn't have the opportunity for a dress rehearsal, they didn't have the opportunity of a dress rehearsal in New Zealand either, but they did manage to do considerably better than we did," she added.

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