"I have to weigh up all my options" - John Halligan on Waterford Hospital issues

Health minister says he won't 'play hookie' with peoples lives

"I have to weigh up all my options" - John Halligan on Waterford Hospital issues

Independent TD John Halligan arriving at Leinster House in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

Minister John Halligan says he has to "weigh up all my options over the next couple of days" in relation to his future in Government.

He has accused other hospitals of interfering with a clinical review into cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford.

Minister Halligan says negotiations cannot go on indefinitely - and he will have to resign if the Government does not come up with a proposal that he and consultants are happy with.

Mr Halligan is also claiming that Finance Minister Michael Noonan told him a second cath lab for the hospital was only a formality.

And he says the Housing Minister Simon Coveney went further.

"Simon Coveney said during the negotiations: 'Well John if you don't sign up, we will deliver the second cath lab for Waterford anyway'," he told WLR FM this morning.

Talks on the issue broke up last night without reaching an agreement.

As he considers his continuation in Government, Health Minister Simon Harris says he will not play hookie with people's lives, and politicians should not be making decisions.

"I think to do anything else would be playing hookie with people's lives and people's well-being, and I don't intend to do that.

"Clinicians must make decisions in relation to clinic issues, not politicians," Mr Harris said.

Mr Halligan told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk that this is more than just a local issue.

"It's not a local hospital, it's a primary cardiovascular care centre for the south-east.

"The hospital serves 500,000 people - Wexford, Waterford, Lismore, Tipperary, Kilkenny."

Mr Halligan claims the clinical review, which found Waterford did not need the facility, was "fatally flawed".

"This review is fatally flawed - it has been proven to be fatally flawed based on how the review was carried out."