Irish health chief takes heat over Madrid conference

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Irish health chief takes heat over Madrid conference

Irish politicians have slammed the boss of the country’s health service over an all-expenses trip to Madrid.

The parliamentarians are furious with Tony O’Brien, director general of the Health Service Executive, for allowing an American medical company to pick up the tab for his attendance at a conference in Madrid this month.

Mr O’Brien defended his decision to allow the company, Acelity, to pay for his expenses in attending the Make Better Healthcare Leaders’ Summit in the Spanish capital.

The multinational, which has a plant in Athlone, supplies advanced wound care therapies.

Acelity picked up the bill for the flights and accommodation of all the other speakers at the conference. Mr O’Brien told the Dáil public accounts committee that having the company fund his travel was preferable to travelling at the expense of the taxpayer.

The row came in the wake of controversy over another company Eurosurgical Ltd, which is alleged to have paid for holidays and gifts for hospital staff in return for inside information ahead of contract talks.

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