Taoiseach promises transition teams next week

Wednesday 08 February 2012 10.56
Micheál Martin suggested a health service crisis is imminent
Micheál Martin suggested a health service crisis is imminent

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Taoiseach of not having transition teams in place to protect frontline services, when significant number of staff retire at the end of this month.

Enda Kenny announced at the weekend that transition teams, which are aimed at minimising the impact on frontline services, will be established immediately to deal with the retirements of key staff, particularly in the health service.

However this afternoon, Mr Kenny told the Dáil the teams would not now established until after next week's Cabinet meeting.

It is proposed that the teams will be comprised of senior officials and managers in the public service.

A Government spokesperson said the teams "would be drawn from existing workforce planning groups which had been recently established".

However, Mr Martin accused the Government of failing to get to grips with what he said was an exodus from the civil service.

He described the transition teams outlined by Mr Kenny as "a figment of the Taoiseach's imagination".

During further questions in the Dáil, Independent TD Finian McGrath asked how overcrowded Emergency Departments could be run with less people, saying they were already under huge pressure.

Mr McGrath added that Ireland could have an emergency crisis in the health service within the next three weeks.

Elsewhere, Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly criticised delays in medical card provision and renewal.

She said she did not know why it was happening, but she warned against what she called rationing by stealth.

Ms O'Reilly made her remarks at the launch of a report by the Older and Bolder organisation on older people's dealings with the country's public services.