Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he would like to meet the two senior Sláintecare officials who resigned from their roles earlier this week.

Laura Magahy and Professor Tom Keane both stood down as Executive Director for the Sláintecare reform programme office and Chairperson of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council respectively.

Mr Martin said he would like to get a sense from them of their concerns.

Prof Keane said he had "come to conclude that the requirements for implementing this unprecedented programme for change are seriously lacking".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the Taoiseach said that there has not been a lack of political will with regard to delivering Sláintecare, but he added that there may be issue in how structures were established around Sláintecare.

"I would like to get their perspective," he said.

He said the Taoiseach's office can give guidance but that it cannot run the health service.

"I think it has to be embedded within the Health Service Executive as well, the culture of reform ... The Government is very clear it wants to follow through on the principles of Sláintecare."

Read more:
Taoiseach says Govt remains committed to Sláintecare
Sláintecare plan requirements seriously lacking - Keane

Mr Martin said "all hands are on deck" with Covid-19 and huge resources have been put into health last year.

He rejected the assertion that things are getting worse with longer waiting lists. He said there is "no question the two lockdowns" have had a severe impact on the capacity of health services.

Mr Martin said some aspects of Sláintecare have been delivered and the Minister for Health will be publishing the targets made to date.

"There will be some learnings from Covid. It has had an impact along with the cyberattack. I think that does have to be taken into account," he said.

In a tweet this morning, Mr Martin said two major milestones had been reached in the vaccination programme.

'Very focused on growing Fianna Fáil'

In a wide-ranging interview on Morning Ireland from the Fianna Fáil party think-in in Cavan, the Taoiseach said there was no appetite within the party for a coalition government when they entered into the confidence and supply agreement in 2016.

But he said Brexit changed that.

"Subsequently, Brexit happened", he said. "What we did what was in the best interest of the country... I take some blame if people are saying I'm putting the country first and party second...I accept that, there is an obligation on me as leader of the party to make sure that the party is robust and resilient into the future."

Mr Martin said a no-deal Brexit would have been calamitous for the country, and he believes history will show that Ireland did well on Brexit because of that consensus in the Oireachtas.

In relation to yesterday's parliamentary party meeting, he said there was a "genuine acceptance" that Fianna Fáil was doing well in Government.

He said Sinn Féin in 2016 "did not want to go into Government" and they made that "very clear" at the time.

"Somebody else had to look after the country", he said. "Sinn Féin was not up to looking after the country in 2016, they said that."

Mr Martin said he is "very focused" on growing Fianna Fáil, and that is what he has been doing.

He said they do have to look at the issue of identity, and he is going to set up a commission on the aims and objectives of the party.

The party leader said he was very disappointed with the results of the last General Election. "I do take my share of responsibility for it," he said.

Mr Martin said the purpose of a report into it was to get a "no-holds barred" account and to learn lessons.

He also said the party in the last ten years has strengthened its capacity in local elections.