Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Mary Butler (FF): “In order to have 24/7 cardiac care, you need seven consultant cardiologists in Waterford. We currently have three and a half posts, with one advertised. It’s a very slow move…Fianna Fáil has categorically stated that if in government they will deliver 24/7 cardiac care but if anybody was in government in the morning, they could not deliver it overnight.” 

Ronan Cleary (Aontú): “In UL, they established a graduate entry medical school about 10 or 12 years and the amount of money that actually brings into that part of Limerick is enormous…if you had to think of something to push the (Technology University) bid over the finishing line, why not bring in a graduate entry medical school as part of bringing 24/7 cardiology into the South East?”      

 John Cummins (FG): “The fact of the matter is that in 2019 there was no funding allocated in the URDF (Urban Regional Development Fund). When a general election is called, the civil servants go into shutdown because they don’t want to allow the likes of ‘stroke politics’ that has happened in the past (to go on).”

Una Dunphy (PBP): “I don’t think a Technological University is exactly what we need. I think we need to have all the humanities (programmes delivered) as well. A lot of them are ‘chalk and talk’ and they’re very cheap to deliver in comparison to others. Carlow and Waterford are very different and I think grouping them together was a big mistake.”

Damien Geoghegan (FG): “Local authorities should be given the money to go and build (houses). Turnkey developments are actually producing houses for the Council and it’s a very efficient way of doing it. The builder comes in, builds a scheme of maybe 30 houses; he doesn’t get paid until he has them completely finished and he hands over the keys to the Council. They’re finished and completed in a very timely fashion and I think that’s the way forward.”

Eddie Mulligan (FF): “The most recent December figures in relation to the Live Register show that there’s an excess of 5,500 people unemployed in Waterford. That’s an excess of 10 per cent. And when it comes to our under-25s, and this something I’m very frustrated about, but our unemployment level is double that of Limerick’s and treble that of Galway’s.”

Marc O’Cathasaigh (GP): “I’m frustrated. Our house is burning down and we spent the evening talking about the colour of the curtains. I think we have 10 years to make radical, transformative change. I think the changes that we’re going to need to make across our society are going to have to be considered and ambitious so that we bring the most vulnerable with us and I think I owe more to my children than to talk about tinkering around the edges.”

Bernadette Phillips (Ind): “This 8am to 8pm (cardiac care proposal at UHW) has emerged very recently, really. I’ve interviewed clinicians, I’ve interviewed cardiologists and all of them have said 24/7 (is their preference). I’ve interviewed general practitioners and they too have equally backed it up because the argument about having 24/7 is that our hearts beat 24/7…and that is the stance that has to remain.”    

John Pratt (Lab): “We have had Brendan Howlin here, trying to deliver 24/7 (cardiac care). The reality is there is no point in me here promising… when given the opportunity, I’m going to be fighting this tooth and nail. John Halligan was a minister in the last government and he didn’t deliver it. I think he went out to do his very best. What I’m saying is it’s in our manifesto now to go after it and get it delivered.”

Matt Shanahan (Ind): “DIT Grangegorman got €1 billion into its budget to achieve university status. Since 1989, four national universities have been created in Ireland while we have been waiting. The difficultly down here is that we have 6,500 undergraduates in WIT at the moment. UL has 12,000. It’s all a question of funding and we will not get funding until we get some recognition of parity of esteem.”

The top table at the Waterford News & Star Big Debate.                                    Photo: Joe Evans

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