Nursing home charges
A whistle-blower alerted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the State's legal strategy to limit refunds on illegal nursing home charges in 2019, it has emerged.
The Irish Times reports that Department of Health official Shane Corr emailed Mr Varadkar on in December 2019, expressing concern that billions of euro in repayments of long-stay nursing home charges were being put “out of reach” of “largely old and helpless people”.
The actions were being carried out “in secrecy” and “put well beyond the normal mechanisms established to scrutinise the Government”, he said in his email, the receipt of which was acknowledged by the Taoiseach’s department.
On Monday, the Taoiseach told Newstalk radio that he never party to the legal strategy. RTÉ reported on Tuesday that a Government spokesperson confirmed the existence of a legal strategy around nursing home charges, but said that it has been "misrepresented".
Former Minister of State in the Department of Health Róisín Shortall has called on the Secretary General from the Department of Health to come before the Oireachtas Health Committee to clarify details about the State’s legal actions in relation to nursing home charges.
Ms Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that she was minister of state with responsibility for primary care and did not have any role in terms of nursing home care or long stay care, and had not been briefed about the reported memo.
There seemed to be a lot of confusion about the memo, she said, which was why the actual memo should be published.
“There's a number of documents that are critical to this entire issue. And those documents need to be published. And we need to have an opportunity to actually see the facts involved in this," she said.
Euro zone unexpectedly avoids recession
The euro zone eked out growth in the final three months of 2022, avoiding a recession even as sky-high energy costs, waning confidence and rising interest rates took a toll on the currency bloc's economy, new data from Eurostat shows.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the euro zone expanded by 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, outperforming expectations in a Reuters poll for a 0.1 per cent drop. Compared to a year earlier, growth was 1.9 per cent, above expectations of 1.8 per cent.
The Irish economy grew by a better-than-expected 12.2 per cent last year despite a severe cost-of-living squeeze and a significant slowdown in the global economy.
This was significantly ahead of Government forecasts and made Ireland the fastest growing economy in Europe once again.
The figures show GDP, the standard measure of growth, grew by an estimated 3.5 per cent in Ireland in the final three months of last year compared with the previous quarter.
Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin to stand down at next election
Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin is not contesting the next general election, he has confirmed.
In a letter to members and councillors in Co Kerry on Monday night, Mr Griffin said after much consideration with his family he will not be seeking a nomination to stand in the next general election.
“The reason for this is a straightforward one. I have two young sons and I want to be around them more for the remaining years of their childhood,” he wrote.
“Politics demands absolute commitment and is an extremely time and attention consuming profession,” he said.
“It is also a job that takes you away from home and loved ones for long periods of time on a regular basis. And when you are at home, your mind is often preoccupied with any number of issues and challenges,” he writes.
Anti-racism demonstration takes place in Ashtown
Around 150 people in west Dublin took part in a demonstration against racism on Monday night.
It comes after a group of men attacked homeless migrants living in tents in Ashtown on Saturday.
Speakers condemned the violence, urging residents to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable members of society.
Men with dogs and weapons arrived at the camp in Ashtown on Saturday, and one person was allegedly assaulted with a baseball bat.
Kilkenny hospital sent half-naked woman home in taxi
A hospital in Kilkenny sent a woman home wearing just a hospital gown, days after she was admitted following a "serious psychotic episode".
The woman was still in "desperate need" of psychiatric care, her family told the Carlow Nationalist.
“If you judge a country by how they treat their most vulnerable, then we are absolute savages," said a relative.
“On the Sunday she had a serious psychotic episode at her home; she wrecked the house, the guards were called, there were ambulances outside the house – it was terrible.
The woman, aged in her 40s, was taken to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny by ambulance accompanied by gardaí.
After being admitted, her family said she was "left on a trolley for days" in the emergency department before being suddenly discharged four days later.