Government accused of abusing power in hiring private investigators to spy on hospital consultants

The government has been accused of playing fast and loose with the constitution after revelations private investigators were hired to spy on hospital consultants.

Three departments gave the go-ahead to the surveillance in a bid to find out if consultants were treating more private patients than their contract allows.

Talks are ongoing to reach a settlement between the government and consultants in a series of court cases that could cost the state millions.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says the government using private investigators is a grave development.

"This sets a very sinister and dangerous precedent," said Mr Martin.

"Ministers and their departments should not be ordering surveillance on citizens or on employees of the State.

"It is wrong and a potential abuse of power."

Digital Desk

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