New Waterford TD gets to heart of the matter as he makes his mark in 33rd Dáil
Newly-elected Waterford Independent TD Matt Shanahan was quick to make his mark in the 33rd Dáil.
The hospital campaigner used his first vote in Dáil Éireann to protest at the lack of cardiac services in Waterford and for the South East.
Deputy Shanahan refused to support any representatives put forward by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
He instead used his first address to the Dáil to highlight the “discrimination” the people of Waterford and the South East suffer in terms of cardiac care.
In his inaugural speech to the Dáil, Deputy Shanahan spelled out what his term in Leinster House will be about: “I was elected to represent the constituency of Waterford. I also represent the people of the south-east region.
“I will not be supporting the nomination of a Taoiseach tonight as a protest against the fact that the south east and Waterford suffers significant discrimination in the provision of cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford.
“There are five national cardiac centres in the country and the one in Waterford, which treats 500,000 people, is the only one that is restricted to 39 hours access. It is the only one that must ferry people by ambulance or helicopter, when available, to centres in Cork or Dublin, delaying their transfer times and therefore causing them additional cardiac damage.
“I will not vote in favour of a Taoiseach this evening but I hope to give support in the future to a progressive programme for Government. However, it must have equity and fairness at its heart,” Deputy Shanahan added.
Waterford’s other new Dáil representative, the Greens’ Marc Ó Cathasaigh (pictured below), has yet to make his inaugural speech to the chamber.
He voted against the nomination of both Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald for Taoiseach, and back his party leader Eamonn Ryan for the position.