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01 Jul 2022

WATCH: Taoiseach questioned on 'expert group' sent to address UHL overcrowding

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has been accused of "washing his hands" of the overcrowding issue at University Hospital Limerick.

The accusation was made by Clare TD Michael McNamara, who asked the Taoiseach if he even knew what was going on at the Emergency Department at UHL, on the same day that 105 people were recorded on trolleys at the Limerick hospital.

"The Taoiseach told me there was an expert group in place there to deal with overcrowding at the time and to develop recommendations into the future.

"I asked when it would report, to whom it would report and what were its terms of reference," Deputy McNamara said in a Dáil Debate on Tuesday, June 14.

The Independent Clare TD also said he had previously asked the Taoiseach whether the existing one model 4 hospital and the three model 2 hospitals were adequate.

"The Taoiseach did not know. He told me would come back to me, but he did not. I wrote to him since. I still have no reply.

"Today, a month later, there are 105 people on trolleys in Limerick. That figure was 81 when I raised the issue a month ago," Deputy McNamara said.

In response, Taoiseach Martin said that the task force sent into UHL is "obviously reporting back to the HSE."

Deputy McNamara then accused Martin of using the HSE to "wash his hands of it", to which the Taoiseach replied:

"No, I did not. That is nonsense. We saw during the pandemic the value of a single body to manage a pandemic.

"God forbid if we had 15 separate regional bodies trying to manage a pandemic and all that would have unfolded. There are pluses and there are minuses. Medical advice, royal college advice and so on, have all been of the view the configuration..."

Closing the debate, Taoiseach Martin said that the team was appointed by the HSE and is reporting back in respect of the "challenges" facing UHL, where he said, there has "been very significant investment."

Deputy McNamara did not receive an update as to when this report would conclude.

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