Healthcare crisis casts 'a shadow', says Archbishop
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, says the nation's problematic healthcare system is "one of the darkest shadows" hanging over the country.
Speaking at a conference to mark World Day Of The Sick, he said people were constantly hearing about a health system that was not responding to the needs of the population.
He referred to the failures of a two-tier system, the negative effects of which disproportionately affect the poor, the isolated and the elderly.
In a reference to the bureaucratic failures of the HSE, he said the system seemed to be "trapped within tentacles of its own making".
Addressing the conference in Dublin, he said attempts to remove one problem revealed another, and rendered a definitive solution ever more distant.
Dr Martin paid tribute to the "highly professional" and "extraordinarily dedicated" doctors, nurses and carers, as well as those providing palliative care.
He said they were "most acutely aware of the failings and inadequacies, and false spending of systems".
He said Irish society needed to ensure that these healthcare professionals did not lose motivation or leave Ireland.
"We have a responsibility to ensure that these people are not led to lose motivation - or indeed to leave Ireland - through sheer frustration or our lack of interest or recognition."
Referring to the Church's changed and changing role in healthcare, he said it was not "abandoning the sphere" but focusing on the ways in which individual Christians, communities and institutions can seek out the most vulnerable.
At a Mass for the anointing of the sick in St Gabriel's Parish Church in Dollymount, Dr Martin appealed to people to help change the way society cares for the sick.
He also called on them to create a culture of respect for life and to defend the integrity and dignity of every person.
In Sligo Cathedral, Bishop Kevin Doran said most people believed the problem with the HSE was the difficulty gaining access to it, not the service itself.