Jim Power There was a time when for the party in government, the health of the labour market was always an incredibly important variable and one which was a reasonable predictor of how that party would fare in a subsequent general election.
Pension deals for early retirees, abolishing hospital charges for children, SSIA schemes for aspirant home-owners, and income tax breaks are among the sweeteners Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will unleash this week in their bid to win the general election.
Fine Gael has launched its economic plan for the next five years which focuses heavily on Brexit and the party’s record of financial stability, but acknowledged that mistakes have been made and lessons learned in the recent past regarding the spiralling budgets of the likes of the National Children’s Hospital.
Health Minister Simon Harris has launched a blistering attack on anti-abortion protesters outside the National Maternity Hospital, saying their actions were “intimidating, sickening and anti-democratic.”
The Department of Health has refused to clarify why it did not make a public announcement following the shock resignation of the State’s chief procurement officer, who failed to flag the spiralling costs of the National Children’s Hospital.
Even if you were to confine the exercise to a timeframe book-ended by Charlie McCreevy’s decentralisation proposals from 2003, the number of reports warning about unbalanced regional development would, if laid back-to-back, stretch almost the length of the main runway at Dublin Airport.
The HSE has been accused of making “eejits” out of members of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), after it sought to convince them that there was no conflict of interest in the role of consultancy firm, PwC, carrying out a review into the huge cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital.
The chairperson of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming has made a call for the establishment of a National Capital Projects Agency, similar to the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA).