Deputy Dara Calleary

  • The number of senior managers in the HSE has increased by 80pc in just six years, according to new figures released to Fianna Fáil.

    There are 1,329 staff members employed at Grade VIII or above, compared with 744 in 2012.

    The salary scale for a Grade VIII clerical worker begins at around €48,000.

    The deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Dara Calleary told Midwest News today that the recruitment crisis in front line staff clearly does not extend to management.

    He said the increase in managers had not led to improvements in service provision in the past six years.

    Last week the deputy highlighted that waiting list inpatient appointments nationally now stand close to one million .

     

  • An analysis of various health waiting lists has revealed that there are almost a million patient appointments outstanding in the first half of 2018.

    Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Dara Calleary has described the situation as a national scandal.

    The Mayo deputy claims that “never before have we seen a situation whereby people have been failed so badly by a government”.

    The vast majority of this list is based on the National Treatment Purchase Fund monthly waiting times. In June 2018 some 717,419 were on the lists compiled by the fund.  However the NTPF does not publish waiting lists for a number of diagnostic scans and the latest available figures (April 2018) showed a further 135,000 waiting for MRIs, ultrasounds and CT scans.

    There are also significant waiting lists for community care. There are 37,229 people waiting for either speech and language therapy or assessment in June 2018.

    A further 31,361 were waiting for an occupational therapy assessment in the same month. The HSE however was unable to provide figures for the number of people waiting for actual occupational therapy treatment.  If that data was provided it is likely, according to deputy Calleary, that the numbers on waiting lists would surpass the one million threshold.

    “The scale of these waiting lists is truly shocking and highlights very clearly the level of demand and the lack of capacity available to meet it.  The latest available figures reveal that over 148,000 outpatients had been waiting over one year to see a consultant.  

    “There will be no improvement in the situation unless there is investment in capacity, and as our population continues to live longer, it poses more serious issues for our health service.  The ESRI has projected that demand for public hospital services could increase by up to 37 per cent for inpatient bed days by 2030. The time for grand plans, staged strategies and PR launches is over, what we need now is action”.


    Table of Waiting Lists

    Waiting List

     

    Inpatient/Day Case Active (NTPF June 2018)

    78,014

    Inpatient/Day Case GI Endoscopy (NTPF June 2018)

    18,279

    Inpatient / Day Case - TCI (NTPF June 2018)

    18,867

    GI Endoscopy - TCI by Group/Hospital  (NTPF June 2018)

    9,973

    Inpatient / Day Case Suspensions (NTPF June 2018)

    9,172

    Planned Procedures List / Planned Procedures (NTPF June 2018)

    12,567

    GI Endoscopy Planned Procedures (NTPF June 2018)

    56,979

    Planned Procedures Suspensions (NTPF June 2018)

    2,153

    Outpatient (NTPF June 2018)

    511,415

    Diagnostics (April 2018)

    135,094

    Primary Care - Psychology (May 2018)

    8,185

    Primary Care - Dietetics (May 2018)

    15,752

    Primary Care - Podiatry (May 2018)

    3,763

    Primary Care - Ophthalmology (May 2018)

    20,532

    Primary Care - Audiology (May 2018)

    15,264

    Occupational Therapy 1st Assessment (June 2018)

    31,361

    Speech and Language Therapy Initial Assessment (June 2018)

    14,974

    Speech and Language Therapy Initial Treatment (June 2018)

    7,894

    Speech and Language Therapy Further Treatment (June 2018)

    14,361

    Home Support Hours for Older People (May 2018)

    6,118

    Assessments of Need under Disability Act (June 2018)

    3,850

    CAMHS (March 2018)

    2,691

    Total

    997,258

     

  • There's some good news today for families who failed to secure school bus transport for their children for the new academic year.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary says Bus Eireann has reopened the school bus portal, and he hopes some progress can now be made on securing transport for some of those who haven't yet got seats on the bus since schools reopened....

  • Concerns have been raised with the National Transport Authority in relation to recent changes on the old Route 52 Ballina-Galway bus service.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary and his party colleague Councillor Michael Smyth met with the NTA yesterday, where discussions centred on the impact of the changes announced last year on Route 52, and the introduction of a new 421 service.

    The changes to Route 52 mean there's no longer a direct service connection from Swinford, Kiltimagh or Knock to Galway, which Deputy Calleary says has caused considerable inconvenience.

    Deputy Calleary says they conveyed to the NTA the need for at least one daily direct service connecting these towns to Galway, with a return service in the evening, and said this can be achieved by a small change to the existing route.

  • A Mayo TD is calling for the deadline for Leaving Cert exam fees to be paid to be extended, given the current uncertainty as to when the exams will take place.

    Last week, the Education Minister announced that the Leaving Cert will most likely be rescheduled for late July or August, while the Junior Cert exams will not go ahead, and will be replaced by school-based exams and assessments.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary says the Junior Cert fee should now be scrapped, while the deadline for the Leaving Cert fee - which is the end of this month - should be extended until there's further clarity about the timing of the exams.

  • It's unacceptable that parents in the north Mayo area have been told the Occupational Therapist service available to their children under the HSE's Early Intervention team, has been suspended for the next 12 months  - that's according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary.

    Deputy Calleary says that, over the past number of days, parents of children receiving the service have been informed by the HSE West that the OT is going on maternity leave for a year, and will not be replaced.

    Deputy Calleary told Midwest News that this situation is unacceptable....

  • The Saolta Hospital group needs to make a statement urgently on claims of a crossover of nursing staff between Covid and non-Covid patients at Mayo University Hospital.

    That's the view of Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary, who has also written to the Minister for Health this morning asking that he provide a report on the matter to the Dail.

    Nurses at the Castlebar Hospital claim the crossover of staff between Covid positive and negative patients has continued up to this week, despite a claim by the Saolta Hospital group CEO Tony Canavan on Midwest News several weeks ago that this practice had ceased from 21st April.

    Midwest News again contacted the Saolta Hospital group last night to ask if there is currently any crossover of staff between positive and negative patients, and to request a further interview with hospital management.

    We were informed this morning that CEO of the Saolta Group Tony Canavan is not available for interview today. We have requested that he, or the hospital manager, speak with us as soon as possible.

    Councillor Michael Kilcoyne, Cathaoirleach of the Castlebar Municipal District, has now called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to investigate what's going on at the Castlebar hospital, with the aim of preventing the further spread of the virus among patients and staff.

    This lunchtime, Deputy Dara Calleary says he has now raised these concerns at Ministerial level, but says hospital management also need to respond as a matter of urgency...

  • Concerns have been raised about GP services in the Bangor Erris area of north Mayo.

    It's understood the GP currently working in Bangor has been offered a job elsewhere, which he is expected to accept, and there are concerns that the vacancy in Bangor may be difficult to fill.

    That's according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary, who's calling on Government to make the role of a GP more attractive, as many areas of rural Ireland are struggling to recruit family doctors.

    Deputy Calleary says the HSE has struggled in recent years to recruit a GP for Bangor, and while the area is well-served by the current GP, there are concerns locally that he's set to take up another job

  • Fianna Fail's Deputy Leader, Mayo TD Dara Calleary, will become the party's spokesperson on Regional Development, Rural Affairs and the Gaeltacht.

    Party leader Mícheal Martin has announced two changes to the frontbench.

    Deputy John Curran will join the frontbench as Spokesperson for National Drug Policy and Urban Affairs, while the party's deputy leader Dara Calleary takes over responsibility for rural affairs, regional development and the Gaeltacht, while.

    Michéal Martin says the continued decline of rural Ireland and the issue of regional balance in terms of job creation and investment are pressing national priorities.

    He says the appointment of the party's deputy leader to this portfolio demonstrates Fianna Fail's determination to hold the Government to account and secure a change in direction.

     

  • The Fianna Fail deputy leader, Mayo TD Dara Calleary, says the draft Programme for Government agreed earlier today addresses many of the concerns of party members who are reluctant to do a deal with Fine Gael and the Green Party.

    The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens signed off on a programme for government this afternoon.

    If ratified, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is expected to become Taoiseach until 2022, followed by Leo Varadker.

    Their parliamentary parties will meet this evening to consider the agreement.

    Speaking to Midwest News this evening, Deputy Dara Calleary says he will now focus on convincing party members to vote in favour of the deal, and will then look forward to playing a major role in the next Government.

  • The protracted process involved in securing an adequate flood defense scheme for Crossmolina, has again been delayed, but remains on track for works to get underway on the much needed project by this Summer.

    That’s according to Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Dara Calleary.

    The deputy says the OPW were due to have an application for funding for the works on the River Deel to the Dept of Public Expenditure by the end of 2019  -  last week, but weather has delayed that application for a few weeks.

    Deputy Calleary told Midwest News today that he has been assured of its progress by the Minister for the OPW, Boxer Moran, and he remains confident that construction, as promised, will get underway within 6 months.

     

     

  • 57 percent of the electorate in Mayo voted Yes on Friday to remove the Eighth Amendment from our constitution.

    In the run up to the vote, during the eight week Referendum campaign the Fine Gael deputies in the county were less than forthcoming on whether they were for or against its repeal. Both Minister Michael Ring and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to indicate how they would be voting.

    However, the Fianna Fail deputies in Mayo were clear on where they stood on the issue, Lisa Chambers was saying Yes and deputy Dara Calleary was saying No on Friday last.

    Today Deputy Calleary told Midwest News that he remains opposed to abortion but says as a democrat he will vote for the legislation to allow it.

    Throughout the referendum campaign Midwest News sought the views of the Fine Gael deputies on the repeal issue, but we only succeeded in getting any response on Tuesday last.

    A spokesperson for the former Taoiseach Enda Kenny said on Tuesday that Deputy Kenny had not taken part in any interviews on the abortion debate, and was unlikely to do so before Friday. The spokesperson did not indicate Mr Kenny’s position on the referendum.

    On the same day in response to Midwest News, Minister Michael Ring said he was a member of the Dail which had facilitated putting the referendum on the Eighth Amendment before the people of Ireland. He pointed out that the Government has published draft legislation in relation to abortion, but insisted it is the people of Ireland that will make the decision in Friday’s referendum.

    Minister Ring said that, if the No vote won, then nothing would change. If people decide to vote Yes to repeal the Eighth amendment,  it will then be up to the Government and the Oireachtas to introduce legislation, and stated that he would make his views known then.

    Midwest News asked Minister Ring this morning how he will be voting on the legislation. He said he will be attending the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) - where the matter will be discussed and he will speak on the matter after that.

    The Fianna deputies in Mayo were very clear on how they would vote on Friday last.  Lisa Chambers was a definite Yes, and her colleague Dara Calleary was saying No.

    Lisa Chambers told Midwest News on Saturday that she hoped the legislation on abortion will be introduced as soon as possible in the wake of the clear mandate from the electorate.

  • An inquiry into voting irregularities in the Dáil recommends no disciplinary action against Fianna Fail TDs, but has recommended an overhaul of the Dáil voting system.

    The Dáil clerk's report says Fianna Fail's Niall Collins was of the belief that his colleague Timmy Dooley would return to the chamber when voting on his behalf.

    The report says the Dail's Committee on procedure should have powers to sanction TDs - including suspension - when an irregularity arises, and it also recommends changes to the voting rules - voting won't be able to start until all TDs are in their seats, and the practice of asking someone else to press the button for them will end.

    The Dáil will debate the report this afternoon and TDS who are the subject of the report - including Mayo's Lisa Chambers-  will have an opportunity to make a statement.

    This is one of several investigations underway following voting irregularies in the Dail last week.

    The Fianna Fail deputy leader, Mayo TD Dara Calleary says it's important that the integrity of the voting system in the Dail is respected, and any changes recommended should be introduced quickly.

  • Community pharmacists could be hit by cuts of between €20,000 and €25,000 each- under plans by Government to decrease the fees paid to pharmacists from the 1st January next.

    That's according to the Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary, who raised the matter during Leaders Questions in the Dáil yesterday (Thursday).

     The Government intends to cut the Community Pharmacy budget by €45 million in the New Year, which will impact on all local community pharmacies and the services they offer, according to Deputy Calleary.

     The Mayo TD told Midwest News today that he has  called on Government to suspend the planned cuts, to allow for urgent negotiations on a new contract with pharmacists.

  • An Independent regulator needs to be appointed to monitor prices in the beef sector, but in the short term Minister Creed needs to reconvene the beef talks and insist that prices are included in the discussion.

    That’s the view of the deputy leader of Fianna Fail, Dara Calleary.

    The Mayo deputy says the beef crisis will only be resolved if all sides and issues are on the table.

  • Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary admits he was very disappointed not to be appointed a senior Minister in the new Coalition Government.

    There's been widespread dismay across at the region that no senior Ministers have been appointed in  Connacht.

    Deputy Calleary is the new Government Chief Whip, but insists he will be a voice for the West at the Cabinet table - even though he does not have a vote.

    Speaking to Midwest Radio, Deputy Calleary  said he had "a very difficult conversation" with Mícheal Martin on Saturday evening, after the new Taoiseach said he wanted him to take up the position of Government Chief Whip.

    Deputy Calleary says there was no other job offer on the table.

    While disappointed, he said it remains his ambition to lead a Government Department in the future, but in the meantime, he will carry out the role of Chief Whip to the best of his ability, while ensuring that the concerns of the people of Mayo and the West of Ireland are heard at the Cabinet table.

     

  • While the number of gardai assigned to the traffic corps in the Mayo garda division has doubled over the last three years, the number of gardai assigned to the drugs unit over the same period has remained the same, according to Mayo Fianna Fail deputy Dara Calleary.

    He raised his concerns at the county Joint Policing Committee in Breaffy House Hotel on Friday evening last.

    Deputy Calleary argued that the number of gardai assigned to the drugs unit in Mayo remains static while the problem of drug abuse and the illegal sale of drugs in the county is on the rise.

    In 2017 the traffic corps in the county went from 11 to 24 in number, while the drug unit continues to have 5 gardai assigned to it.

    Garda Chief Supt Pat Diskin, in response, told the deputy that the increase in the traffic corps numbers over the past three years has coincided with significant reductions in road deaths in the county.

    In 2017 – 13 people died on Mayo roads, that was reduced to 9 in 2018, and to date this year it stands at 3.

    In addition, he explained that every garda in the county is involved in combating illegal substance abuse and sales – it's not solely the duty of the drugs unit.

     Nonetheless, Deputy Calleary insisted the drugs unit, with its expertise, needs to be increased.

  • Fianna Fail has brought forward a new Bill to clamp down on insurance fraud, which should see a reduction in insurance costs.

    The Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill seeks to reduce the number of fraudulent insurance claims by ensuring false claims are dealt with under the law.

    Fianna Fail Deputy Leader and Mayo TD Dara Calleary says consumers are being charged huge insurance premiums because of the large number of false compensation claims. He says it is unfair and Fianna Fail is stepping up to the mark to clamp down on these fraudsters.

    If passed, the Bill would direct the courts to refer matters directly to the Director of Public Prosecutions if a case is deemed to be fraudulent.

    This would allow the DPP to take a case against the perpetrators of fraudulent claims.

    The Government has indicated it will back the Bill.

    Deputy Calleary says people in Mayo and throughout the country are continuing to see their insurance costs rise and this move will help to change that.

  • Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader and TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has accused the government of having no ambition for indigenous enterprise in County Mayo. 

    The Ballina TD’s comments comes on foot of two recent government announcements – one for regional enterprise development funds totalling €29 million and another for the Government Disruptive Technology Fund totalling €75 million – in which Mayo applicants were overlooked.

    Deputy Calleary say that despite being home to many excellent local and multinational companies, we are falling way behind in terms of investment. 

     He says only 23 out of a total of 3,289 IDA Ireland client visits undertaken between 2011 and 2017 were to Co. Mayo and we have not attracted a new IDA Ireland supported company in a number of years.

  • The Fianna Fail deputy leader says the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit was the main reason his party agreed yesterday evening to support the Government by extending the Confidence & Supply agreement for a further year into 2020.

    Mayo TD Dara Calleary insists, however, that his party will continue to demand progress on a number of issues, including housing and health, rural and regional development.

    Speaking to Midwest News this evening, Deputy Calleary said it's important that Ireland has political stability in the year ahead to face the threat posed by Brexit - particularly as the chances of a no-deal Brexit are now higher.