NEWLY elected Councillor Matt Shanahan publically apologised after posting a rambling online rant about replacing government mannequins, while referencing the “Barbie explorer, who can’t tell east from west” and the “Captain America version” that “never worked from the day it delivered”.
On a post on the Health Equality for the South East Facebook page, which was removed the following day, Matt began by asking David Cullinane, TD, to expand on what he was referring to when he said the second cath lab was “over the line”.
“When David refers to ‘over the line’ suggesting done deal perhaps he was referring us to the internet portal for sourcing much needed equipment and people? Is he suggesting while there we should also see about replacing our government mannequins? It isn’t a bad idea. The guarantees that came with ours have long expired. Some have water damage and are all washed up. The ‘Captain America’ version never worked from the day it delivered. The ‘Barbie’ explorer can’t tell east from west…”
After the post was removed Cllr Shanahan issued the following statement, apologising for any hurt caused.
“The comments were borne of frustration from continuing lack of transparency or detail on delivery of commitments given to UHW cardiac service over nine months ago. I apologise for and regret any personal hurt caused from the post as that was absolutely not my intention. Public representation is a charged atmosphere with many counter viewpoints. I agree it must be conducted with an attitude of mutual respect for all – I also accept that in this instance that due respect was lacking on my part,” he said.
Giving her reaction to Damien Tiernan on Deise AM, Deputy Mary Butler said she wasn’t personally offended. “I am very annoyed that he would make such a derogatory comment about women.” She said it is no wonder that women are “slow to put themselves forward if this is the stereotypical impression that people have of women in politics” – only two of the 32 representatives elected to Waterford Council are women (approximately 30% of those who stood for election to the local authority were female). Deputy Butler said Cllr Shanahan’s comments were disappointing and “unbecoming of a public representative”.
Cllr Shanahan said he intended to continue to press the case for health equality for Waterford people and the wider South East but in a more “thoughtful and dignified way”.
He said that he looked forward to receiving the HSE documented information that authorises new Cath lab delivery and the proposed tender schedule from Oireachtas members.
“Despite many verbal assurances on the subject to date, written documentation confirming the overall project, the delivery schedule with supporting budget approval have not been made available to Waterford service users or the wider South East population as of yet. This continuing lack of detailed and documented information poses significant questions and remains a concern for all.”