Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Micheál Martin says members of the Public Service are entitled to have meetings and brainstorm “without being secretly recorded”.
“This is a very basic right,” Mr Martin said.
He was speaking after a newspaper article reported that Public Servants had described Department of Health recruitment targets as “batshit”, “incredible”, and “not in any way realistic”.
The claims came from a whistle-blower in documents given to the Oireachtas’ (Parliament’s) Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The author claimed they reflected conversations which took place in the Department of Health regarding budgetary issues in the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Labour Party leader, Alan Kelly said these were an extraordinary series of leaks which revealed a very dysfunctional relationship between the Department of Health and the HSE.
“The commentary in this meeting was quite derogatory from a relationship point of view and the relationship between the HSE and the Department of Health is obviously going to be very damaged,” Mr Kelly said.
Replying to Mr Kelly in Parliament, Mr Martin said the article included a “secretly recorded transcript” of a meeting.
“I do believe on a general level that the Public Service and people more generally are entitled to brainstorm, are entitled to have meetings without being secretly recorded and I think that’s a very basic right and entitlement of people too,” Mr Martin said.
A spokesperson for the HSE had no comment on the documents, and the Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment.
Dublin, 18 February 2022