Longford Fine Gael TD James Bannon has hit out at the Minister for State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, Roisin Shortall, over her apparent refusal to debate the issue of funding for St Christopher’s Services in Longford.
The Legan TD claims he has tabled a Topical Interest Motion on funding for St Christopher’s no fewer than twenty-seven times and on each occasion the topic has not been selected for debate. Deputy Bannon has resubmitted the motion once more today in a final attempt to get the issue debated before the summer break.
Deputy Bannon’s motion asks that the Minister clarify fully the funding situation in respect of St Christopher’s, a resource which “has seen a dramatic decline in financial provision since 2008, culminating in a further cutback of 3.7% announced for 2012, which will be impossible for St Christopher’s to absorb, without cutting wages and services, to the detriment of service users and staff.”
Bannon spoke of his puzzlement as to why Minister Shortall was refusing to discuss the matter in the Dail. The government backbench TD launched a further stinging attack on the Labour Minister, saying, as a result of her refusal to engage on the issue over the past couple of months, he “can only conclude that she not prepared to be forthright on the matter. The lack of transparency on this important issue is very worrying.”
Bannon contends that “if the matter of funding is not resolved the patients, staff and families are going to lose out. This is inexcusable.”