Taoiseach resists calls for Harney resignation

The Taoiseach has defended his Health Minister, and denied a cover-up over the latest cancer scandal - this time at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.

Taoiseach resists calls for Harney resignation

The Taoiseach has defended his Health Minister, and denied a cover-up over the latest cancer scandal - this time at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin.

Brian Cowen was responding to revelations that nearly 58,000 x-rays were not read by a consultant radiologist over a five-year period.

The blunder led to the delayed diagnoses of two patients, one of whom has since died and another who is undergoing treatment.

In the Dáil, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore urged the Taoiseach to remove Health Minister Mary Harney from the Department of Health for her failure to guarantee the care of patients at Tallaght:

The Department of Health has confirmed that Harney is dealing with the misdiagnosis crisis remotely from New Zealand.

Harney is on a 15-day long Saint Patrick's Day visit to the country, which is holding a four-day Saint Patrick's festival.

She left Ireland on March 6 and will return on March 21.

The Minister is accompanied on the junket by her special advisor, her private secretary and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the department.

Minister Harney's husband Brian Geoghegan is also in New Zealand and a press officer for the Department says that is "most likely" in a private capacity, but could not confirm.

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