Alan Kelly calls on Taoiseach to consider competence of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly
Labour leader Alan Kelly has called on the Taoiseach to consider Stephen Donnelly’s ‘competency’ as Health Minister.
It follows a disastrous TV appearance on Monday night where Mr Donnelly said the return of some students to schools was not a done deal despite Minister Josepha Madigan saying earlier that the opening will go ahead.
A spokesperson for the Minister was forced to issue a clarification on Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours later, which stated that Mr Donnelly ‘mis-spoke’.
Mr Kelly said the Government was losing the confidence of the public over recent communications and that compliance with the public health guidelines would suffer as a result.
‘I have never seen anything like the last two weeks where the public have basically felt disrespected by the Government, absolutely taken for granted. But, that works both ways,’ he said.
‘If the public don’t respect the Government because of their behaviour, well then how are they going to adhere to what the Government are saying.’
The Labour Leader said he was aware of communication issues with Mr Donnelly but what transpired on Monday night raised questions around competency.
‘Given the performance of the Minister for Health last night. We have always been conscious of the issues relating to communications from that particular Minister,’ he said.
‘To misunderstand, not just mis-speak, what clearly had happened hours earlier in Government is beyond comprehension. We are in the middle of a pandemic… do not speak unless you know what you are talking about,’ he added.
The Labour leader insisted that Mr Donnelly ‘did not know what he was talking about’ and called on Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to look at the situation.
‘The Minster did not know what he was talking about. So now, I am saying directly to Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar…. There is a serious issue, not just about communications with Minister Stephen Donnelly, there now appears to be a serious issue of competency.’
‘We cannot have a situation where there are issues relating not just to communications but obvious issues of competency as well.’
‘Last night was scary, it wasn’t just embarrassing for him, it was scary for all of us,’ he added.