Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has been branded aloof, cold and devoid of compassion by parents of St Christopher’s Services as concerns over its funding crisis continues.
Liz Hourican and Ellie Shanley, both of whom sit on the service’s parents association, spoke about Mr Varadkar at a special meeting of Longford County Council last week.
Both women, who met with the Minister along with a number of Fine Gael Councillors the week earlier, said they were shocked by what they saw.
“You do expect a little bit of emotion from politicians but my first impressions were that he was very aloof,” Ms Hourican said.
“ If he had shown even the least bit of interest and compassion, we would have been happy. We did go up with a bit of excitement, but we left very deflated.
“We got nothing out of the meeting. We brought photographs of our two kids and the man didn’t even glance. Anybody would have said: ‘Oh, is that your son or daughter? But that didn’t happen. I was just so unimpressed and disappointed at the whole meeting.”
Her fellow parents committee member, Ellie Shanley gave a similar analysis as they addressed a packed to capacity council chamber.
“I just thought it was another meeting for him and to get it over with as quick as he could,” she said.
“It might have been another meeting for him, but it was our children, our adults at stake here. I was annoyed to think that was all he thought about us.”
Fine Gael members joined their opposition colleagues Fianna Fail in expressing their dismay over what had transpired seven days earlier.
Cllrs Paraic Brady and Colm Murray, who were also present at the meeting inside Government Buildings said they too found Mr Varadkar somewhat distant in his approach.
Cllr John Browne, meanwhile, said it was “highly regrettable” Ms Hourican and Ms Shanley felt that way, assertions which Cllr Gerald Farrell also empathised with.
“It definitely disappoints me,” he said.
“I don’t know how he could be like that on such an important issue.”