Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the unwillingness of Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats to adopt a definite stance on a Dáil Motion put forward by the Rural Independent Group has enabled a potentially significant defeat for the future of child-centred medical care. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Rural Independent Group’s Motion on the transfer of the National Children’s Hospital was defeated by 58 votes to 18, with 61 TD’s choosing to abstain:
“For me this represents the loss of a golden opportunity to put the brakes on a political project that has been rejected by the vast majority of parents who consistently use our paediatric and adolescent health care system.
An abstention in this instance reflects a shameful inability to commit to a political decision that required an absolutely clear statement of one’s position.
Either you believed that the St James’ site was profoundly problematic and should be reconsidered or you accepted the government view that it was the optimal site despite all the access issues.
I am at a loss to see how so many Deputies could not address that clear choice in a definite way.
Perhaps they wanted political cover when the issue was raised with them by their constituents.
The most positive interpretation you could put on this level of abstentions is that the government have signally failed to persuade the majority of TD’s that proceeding with the St James’ site is the appropriate course of action.
Regardless of today’s vote, there are still options available such as a Judicial Review, an option that has by no means been ruled out given the enormous consequences that will follow if we go ahead with St. James.
The absolute priority has be the welfare of children.
Today that priority took second place to political expediency and that is a matter of huge regret,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
Motion re National Children’s Hospital – as amended.: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”
Tá, Deputies: Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin
Níl, Deputies: Mattie McGrath and Michael Harty
Broughan, Thomas P.
Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
Durkan, Bernard J.
Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Phelan, John Paul.
Boyd Barrett, Richard.
Donnelly, Stephen S.
Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
McDonald, Mary Lou.
Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.
Ó Broin, Eoin.
Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.