Pressure continues to mount on Mr O’Brien, not alone from the Opposition but from some ministers and TDs calling for his resignation.
While Sinn Féin was stopped from putting forward a motion of no confidence over his handling of the CervicalCheck controversy, it is to mount a similar motion next week.
The party had yesterday attempted to add an amendment to a broader motion around the lack of delivery of recommendations in the Sláintecare report brought forward by a group of rural independents.
However, the amendment was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle’s office.
However, the Social Democrats agreed to give over their speaking time to Sinn Féin next Tuesday when a motion of no confidence in Mr O’Brien will be moved.
Speaking outside the Dáil, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris to “lead” and to ask for Mr O’Brien’s resignation.
She said her party will now pursue “all avenues” to force Mr O’Brien to step aside after the motion was ruled out of order.
Ms McDonald said regardless of the scandals that emerge and wrong-doings unearthed “there are certain individuals in senior roles who simply are untouchable” and this must now change.
“If the Government are not prepared to do what they need to do and to relieve Mr O’Brien of his duties, well then those of us who are parliamentarians are left with no option but to bring a motion to the floor of the Dáil,” she said.
All of this could be sorted out very simply — the Taoiseach could lead. Where things go catastrophically wrong, the person at the top is the person who has to make an account.
Ms McDonald said it was clear to her that Mr O’Brien “is not capable” and is “not competent to lead the HSE in the way that is necessary and therefore he has to go”.
She added: “We have gotten to the point where it’s nearly a HSE scandal-a-week and that’s not good enough.
We have a Government who won’t act, we have parliament potentially silenced on the issue, and that’s not good enough.
“It’s notable that we haven’t heard anybody express confidence in Mr O’Brien’s position. In fact, members of Fianna Fáil, members of Fine Gael, members of Cabinet, have all indicated that they share our view that Mr O’Brien has to go.”