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6 swords gazette 2 April 2015

tidy towns Fingallians gets a big clean-up  keith bellew

SWORDS Tidy Towns recently undertook a huge clean-up at Fingallians GAA Club, with the help of staff from locally based plant traders Doosan Trading Ltd. Club chairperson Ken Duffy said: “A group of Doosan employees took on the task of painting the railings and removing graffiti along the river walk at the Castle SC [surgery].” He went on to say that they got “a mountain of work done”in the area, thanks to the management and staff from Doosan, as well as the two Tus interns who work with the group, and he thanked them for their “Trojan work”. H e c o n cl u d e d b y thanking Fingal County Council, and he gave a special mention to park superintendent, Fergus O’Carroll.

services Funding to increase from €813k to €1.5m

Varadkar criticised for rise in spending on PR  keith bellew

The Minister for Health has defended the funding of frontline services and hit back at Cllr Cian O’Callaghan (Ind) who has criticised Leo Varadkar’s spending on PR, consultancy and policy reviews. Cllr O’Callaghan made his remarks after studying the revised estimates for public services in 2015. He told The Gazette that under the heading of Dissemination of Information, Conferences and Publications, TDs voted to increase spending from €813,000 in 2014 to €1.513m this year. “While the Government chose to cut and

freeze spending for frontline health services, the 2015 estimates reveal an astonishing 86% increase in spending on PR. At the same time the Government has slashed health spending by €213m in 2015. The effect is further damage to our healthcare system.” He added that this had helped create the record levels of overcrowding in hospitals – this February, 9,657 patients were waiting on trolleys and in chairs. He added that over the last year waiting lists for elective surgery had trebled and rolling closures of operating theatres in hospitals such as Beaumont had doubled since January

Minister Leo Varadkar was criticised by Cllr Cian O’Callaghan (Ind) for the vote to increase spending on PR

“PR and spin were not the only the areas to get increased funding though. Varadkar also found extra resources for consultancy and policy reviews, where spending will increase by 19% in 2015.” M i n i s t e r Va r a d kar responded to these remarks: “Cllr O’Callaghan is clearly unaware that the budget for frontline services rose for the first time in seven years this year. This was the first increase in frontline health spending since the economic crash presided over by the Fianna Fail/Green/Independents government. “Equally, Cllr O’Callaghan also seems to think that citizens are not entitled to be kept


‘While the Government chose to cut and freeze spending for frontline health services, the 2015 estimates reveal an astonishing 86% increase in spending on PR’ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cllr Cian O’Callaghan


informed about essential health services. That section of the HSE’s budget provides vital health information. That includes issues like the Quit campaign which helps people to give up smoking, or details of how to avail of the potentially lifesaving screening like Breastcheck. Perhaps Cllr O’Callaghan doesn’t think his constituents should be informed

about life-saving medical services?” the Minister told the Gazette. Cllr O’Callaghan said this was not the case at all. His grievance was funding being spent on financial, not medical, consultants whose fees had doubled in recent years. This was the only area of the Depar tment’s budget that had seen such an increase. He said that while spending in some areas

of frontline services had risen, in others they had fallen and the net budget for each hospital had remained more or less the same. In relation to the spend on outside consultants he cited a recent conference report on how to build efficiency in the health sector at which two financial consultants were paid €40,000 each for speaking.

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