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Saturday, February 27, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey has vowed to keep the pressure on the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney and the HSE regarding Wexford’s General Hospital A & E. “As an Oireachtas member, I have been told that no decision has yet been made regarding the closure of the A & E and I hope that this is the case. I firmly believe that the A & E in Wexford should remain a 24 hour facility and should not be reduced to operating between 8am and midnight.”
Dr. Twomey, referring to Ennis Hospital losing its acute services last year between 8pm and 8am, said that comparisons cannot be made between Ennis and Wexford. “Ennis is a far smaller hospital with only about 70 beds. Wexford has over 200 beds and has major specialities.”
Dr. Twomey said that the HSE are putting a spin on the low numbers of patients being seen in Wexford’s A & E between midnight and 8am in the morning. “But the HSE is ignoring the fact that the patients that come to A & E during those hours are the sickest patients, who would then have to travel a minimum of 1 hour to Waterford or perhaps even a couple of hours to a Dublin hospital. Even though we have a good ambulance service with many of the ambulance drivers being trained up to paramedic level, there is just not enough capacity in the ambulance service to be able to move patients these distances while still maintaining an ambulance service for the county.”
Dr. Twomey added that we are spending 16 billion annually on our health system, so the money is being spent but it is a question of using this money in the best way so that patients get the best care. “Savings can be made in other ways. Closing the A & E at night will only result in putting the sickest patients at risk. Wexford lost acute orthopaedic surgery and breast cancer surgery to Waterford but Wexford GPs will not support any reduction in acute services. I, together with the other public representatives, will continue to fight to ensure that there will be no reduction in our acute services in Wexford General Hospital.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


“This Thursday night 25th February in the Talbot Hotel at 7.30pm is your opportunity to have your say on the Banking crisis and other economic issues and their affect on businesses and people in County Wexford,” states Dr. Twomey.
Dr. Liam Twomey asks you to come along and share your views on what we must do for County Wexford.

“I need your support to prove that this issue and other economic issues matter”, stresses Dr. Twomey.

Dr. Twomey states
“I have five objectives for this meeting:
• The opportunity to discuss the banking crisis with you and how it is affecting Wexford’s economy
• I want to put together a report to send to the banking enquiry to outline Co. Wexford’s concerns
• I will raise issues in Leinster House that will highlight Wexford’s economic concerns
• If there are specific issues, I will raise those problems with the relevant Government department
• I will discuss solutions put forward on the night with Fine Gael’s economic spokesperson Richard Bruton.”

“I know your views matter and I look forward to seeing you on Thursday,” states Dr. Twomey

Friday, February 19, 2010


In the Seanad on Tuesday, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Eamon Ryan to discuss the potential negative effects the 3% levy for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) could have on jobs and the future viability of local radio stations.
Dr. Twomey said “Because of the recent legislation which has been passed, three radio stations across Ireland could end up being closed. The levy has already cost people their jobs and works against small local radio stations. The cost of running the BAI is equivalent to the turnover of three local radio stations.” He added that local radio stations are of great benefit to local communities. “We do not want to see two or three go out of business because of a levy which discriminates against smaller stations and which does not appear to have been fully thought through by the Minister.”
Given the fact that advertising revenue was down by 20-25% last year with another expected 5% decrease this year, the introduction of this levy is coming at a bad time for radio stations. This levy will fund the BAI with €7.4 million per annum.
“Our local radio station in county Wexford, South East Radio, provides a vital service and it is the same with local radio stations across the country. We should be doing our best to support these local businesses, during this difficult time, not putting more financial pressure on them”, said Dr. Twomey. The latest results from the JNLR survey shows that South East Radio has 50,000 adult listeners per day. It also has a weekly reach of 61% which equates to 67,000 weekly listeners over the age of 15. “These figures show how important South East Radio Station is to the Wexford community.”

Dr. Twomey has promised to continue to press this issue regarding the levy with Minister Ryan.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey called on the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, TD, and the Taoiseach to clarify their knowledge of issues regarding NAMA at the time of its publication and its effectiveness in getting credit flowing to Irish businesses.
During the Order of Business in the Seanad last week, Dr. Twomey said, ‘Speaking on the day of publication of the NAMA legislation last September, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan, said NAMA would strengthen and improve the funding position of the banks in order that they could lend to viable businesses and households. This means it would get credit flowing. The Taoiseach said the Government’s objective in restructuring the banks was to provide access to credit for Irish businesses at a critical time. When both individuals were making these statements, they clearly had evidence to the contrary, that it would not get credit flowing or that there were concerns about whether it would get credit flowing.’
Dr. Twomey requested that the Taoiseach make a statement to clarify what he knew and the reason he withheld this information from the public. ‘Those of us currently working as well as our children and grandchildren will have to pay back this €47 billion and will own two defunct banks, so we need an answer from the Taoiseach.’
‘Due to our lack of competiveness, foreign companies have been leaving our shores to set up business in cheaper, more cost effective economies. Our own Irish businesses who are the real life blood of this country are suffering. The Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan announced that her department would ‘consider’ establishing a state loan guarantee scheme for SMEs to promote banks to lend to viable businesses. If NAMA was working in the way stated by the Minister last September, why is the Tanaiste looking at a state loan guarantee for SMEs,’ questioned Dr. Twomey. ‘A difficulty in accessing credit was cited as one of the main problems for businesses today so we need to deal urgently with this issue.’

Dr. Twomey added that County Wexford has been particularly badly hit by the closure of a number of small businesses. ‘The figures on the live register went up 3.8% in January and to add to that, we now have the closure of the English based Halifax bank branches in Gorey and Wexford town, with the loss of more jobs.’

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Short and unnecessary prison sentences a waste of time and money

Speaking in the Seanad Fine Gael Wexford Senator, Liam Twomey, said our prison policy is fatally flawed, with our prisons bursting at the seams and taxpayers spending millions each year on an utterly failed system.

“Our prison policy is an abysmal failure which is failing victims of crime, the perpetrators and the taxpayer shelling out an inordinate amount of money with little or no results.

“It costs somewhere in the region of €100,000 each and every year to keep an offender in prison and with our prisons bursting at the seams we have to ask ourselves if our recent prison policy is achieving its objective as a deterrent to committing crime.

“The annual report of the Irish Prisons Service 2008 showed that:
• of those incarcerated in 2008 a third were non-nationals, the majority of whom were awaiting deportation;
• There was an 88% increase in the numbers imprisoned for not paying fines;
• For the majority of prisoners, the average stay was approximately 4-12 months.

“Research shows that in difficult economic times an upsurge in property crime takes place. The latest CSO statistics on crime confirm that fact, indicating a rise in burglary, robbery and related offences. A comparison of Quarter 4 in 2009 and Quarter 4 2008 showed that burglaries rose by 8.8% and possession of an article with intent to burgle or steal was up by a staggering 39%.

“Fine Gael has long advocated a radical change in policy on crime including the creation and adoption of an alternative dispute resolution system to deal with the payment of debt.

“Hardened criminals view our current system as a soft-touch, administering three to four month prison stints. The emotional effects of such a stretch inside on those imprisoned for non-payment of fines can not and must not be underestimated.

“With a cost of roughly €2,000 per week to jail these offenders, it is patently clear that we need to review current practice which is neither cost effective nor a suitable deterrent. Real deterrents are needed to prevent crime with short or unnecessary prison sentence clearly a waste of time”.