SIMON Harris has been criticised for his “dismissive attitude” and “arrogance” over his response to a motion from councillors urging him to tackle the hospital trolley crisis.
At the final meeting of the last metropolitan district before the local election, Cllr John Costelloe, Sinn Fein, saw a motion unanimously passed which called on the Health Minister to alleviate the stress of the trolley crisis, and fast-track funding to deal with it.
Meetings administrator James Clune wrote to the Department of Health on this – but in response, he received just a two-line reply from the Wicklow TD.
"I wish to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence concerning the trolley crisis and inform you the contents have been noted,” the letter signed by Minister Harris read.
The response emerged only a few days after the number of people waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) equalled its previous high of 81.
Cllr Costelloe said he believes Mr Harris is showing “contempt” to members of the local authority.
”The reply is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. There is no substance to it,” he said, “This is typical of the government.”
Metropolitan district leader James Collins added: “You just wonder sometimes if government really appreciate the situation. When we discuss it, we raise it in public, we raise it in the local media and write to the minister, and then you get this arrogant communication thanking you for your letter and noting its contents. It’s no response to the crisis the health service is in.”
Former councillor Mary Cahillane, who formed a steering committee to campaign for action on the trolley crisis said: “I’m not surprised. It’s a very dismissive attitude, but the government in general has always been dismissive of the problems at UHL.”
“It’s not just dismissive of the problem, but I feel it also shows the contempt in which he holds members of the council.
“The motion didn’t come from me, it was passed by the council.”