Incredible that no handover meeting took place between Donnelly and Harris

04 August 2020

Labour Leader Alan Kelly has said that it is incredible that no handover meeting took place between Minister Stephen Donnelly and his predecessor Simon Harris considering the Covid-19 crisis.

Deputy Kelly was speaking after receiving a response to a Parliamentary Question stating that no formal handover briefing took place.

Deputy Kelly said:

“It is absolutely incredibly that no handover meeting took place between Minister Donnelly and his predecessor. We are in the middle of the worst health crisis in living memory and I would have thought that a formal handover briefing with his predecessor Minister Harris would have been top of the agenda for Minister Donnelly.

“This speaks to the disfunction at the heart of this three-party Government, where members of the three Government Party’s regularly air their grievances in public and even Ministers of State cannot be relied upon to vote with the Government on their own legislation.

“Minister Donnelly needs to address why no handover briefing took place when he assumed office and why he did not seek one in the days that followed his appointment. It is particularly surprising that given Minister Donnelly’s background as a Management Consultant with extensive expertise in change management that he didn’t see fit to better manage the change of Health Minister by speaking directly to his predecessor about the issues in the Department, particularly in light of the worst pandemic in living memory.  

Deputy Kelly continued:

“Covid-19 is the gravest health crisis we have faced in 100 years and there are massive challenges in relation to reopening our health service and in particular with services for people with disabilities with little clarity from Government as to when they will actually restart. Effective communication between Minister’s across Government is essential to restarting services in a timely manner. A handover briefing between the two Ministers and the Secretary General of the Department along with Senior Department officials should have occurred and it is incredible that Minister Donnelly didn’t feel the need to avail of one.

PQ Reference: 19608/20

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