Gobshite Donnelly and Watt, are making a Mockery, out of the Dail Oireachtas Committee, and Moron Martin, is Backing the Gobshites? Irish people Deserve the Truth?

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Taoiseach forced to defend Donnelly over Holohan mess

 – Yesterday 12:11Follow

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is not dodging scrutiny over the botched appointment of Dr Tony Holohan to a role in Trinity College Dublin, the Taoiseach has said.

Micheál Martin was forced to defend Stephen Donnelly, as well as the secretary general of the Department of Health Robert Watt, over accusations the pair were declining to attend an Oireachtas committee to face questions over the controversy.

Dr Holohan decided against taking up a proposed secondment to Trinity after a dispute over the transparency of the process that would have seen the State pay his salary of €187,000 through competitive research funding, administered by the Health Research Board. An external review has been commissioned.

© Provided by Extra.ieHealth Minister Stephen Donnelly is not dodging scrutiny over the botched appointment of Dr Tony Holohan to a role in Trinity College Dublin, the Taoiseach has said. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

But opposition parties have accused Mr Donnelly and Mr Watt of making a mockery of parliamentary scrutiny by declining to attend the Oireachtas finance committee to take questions over the controversy.

Speaking before a Cabinet meeting earlier, Mr Donnelly said he would appear before the committee once the review had been completed and a report submitted.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Dáil: ‘The minister and, indeed, Robert Watt himself refuse to come before the committee and the committee has now written for a second time to the secretary general of the Department of Health. I have to say that this makes a mockery of the business that we do.

© Provided by Extra.ieOpposition parties have accused Mr Donnelly and Mr Watt of making a mockery of parliamentary scrutiny by declining to attend the Oireachtas finance committee to take questions over the controversy. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

‘It is wholly unacceptable that a minister of the Government [and] a senior civil servant, not alone refuses to cooperate with the committee of this house, but act to actively frustrate its work.

‘So we need a response, a substantive response from the Taoiseach on this matter to make it very clear to his own ministerial team and, perhaps more importantly, to the public administration, to senior civil servants, to Mr Robert Watt himself that he has no authority and has no role in frustrating the work of any committee.’

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy also raised the issue.

© Provided by Extra.ieMicheál Martin was forced to defend Stephen Donnelly, as well as the secretary general of the Department of Health Robert Watt, over accusations the pair were declining to attend an Oireachtas committee to face questions over the controversy. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

‘Who’s running this country?

Is it your Government, or is it the permanent government?” she asked the Taoiseach.

‘We know the secretary-general for the Department of Health is in a rarefied position, not least because his pay grade is above yours.

© Provided by Extra.ieDr Tony Holohan decided against taking up a proposed secondment to Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Mr Martin said that the Health Minister would be attending the finance committee. ‘He has said there is no question of him refusing to go before the committee of the house,’ the Taoiseach told opposition TDs.

‘He has helpfully suggested that there’s an external review, which members of this house asked for.’

Regarding Mr Watt, the Fianna Fáil leader said: ‘I don’t like the witch hunt nature of the approach that’s been adopted.’

‘Does that mean that he can snub his nose at attending Oireachtas committees and decline to be held accountable for decisions he takes?’

Mr Martin said that the Health Minister would be attending the finance committee. ‘He has said there is no question of him refusing to go before the committee of the house,’ the Taoiseach told opposition TDs.

‘He has helpfully suggested that there’s an external review, which members of this house asked for.’

Regarding Mr Watt, the Fianna Fáil leader said: ‘I don’t like the witch hunt nature of the approach that’s been adopted.’

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