MITCHELSTOWN DENTIST ACCUSES CLINIC OF FALSE ADVERTISING
As a war of words drags on between the Irish Dental Association (IDA) and the former chairman of Limerick County Council, John Gallahue, local dentist Derek Riordan, who operates a practice in Mitchelstown, has accused the Hungarian Dental Clinic in Ballylanders of ‘false advertising’.
“The Hungarian Dentist seems to have become a brand but I am charging the exact same prices here in Mitchelstown for a check up, for cleaning and for fillings. Mr Gallahue is quoted in the regional and national press as saying that prices at the Hungarian dentist in Ballylanders are 30 to 40 percent cheaper than other practices, this is simply not true and is false advertising,” Mr Riordan told The Avondhu.
Serious concerns Derek Riordan also has some other serious concerns about the Hungarian Dental Clinic and the proposed dental factory in Ballylanders. “Firstly, we have no problem with competition, competition is good and in the current economic climate people need to get value for money.
There are still a lot of free dental treatments available - PRSI patients are still entitled to a free annual check up and medical card patient can still have a free consultation, two free fillings in a year, free extractions and free dentures subject to HSE approval.
Statements are being made in the media that Hungarian dentists are coming to Ireland and charging Hungarian prices, this is not true, they are charging Irish prices,” Derek said.
NO HUNGARIAN DENTISTS
Mr Riordan went on to point out that he believes that there are in fact no Hungarian dentists working at the Hungarian Dental Clinic in Ballylanders.
“Mr Gallahue has himself admitted that there was a Bulgarian dentist at the clinic and now there is an Indian dentist working there. There is not and never has been a Hungarian dentist operating in Ballylanders. There has been two different dentists since the practice opened only a couple of months ago.”
“There is a duty of care for all dentists, you must be able to go back to your dentist if you have a problem. You need to be able to get to know your dentist and to be able to rely on his or her service over the years in your community.
"Surely, if you are trading as the Hungarian Dental Clinic the least you can expect is a Hungarian dentist? Again we are not at all anti-competition, any dentist can open up wherever he or she wants but the public needs to know what they are getting and, if you are advertising a Hungarian dentist, surely that’s what you should get?” Mr Riordan continued.
However, it is the allegation that the Ballylanders Enterprise group has been awarded a grant of €700,000 of taxpayers money to build a dental factory which has Derek Riordan and the Irish Dental Association (IDA) seriously concerned.
“As a dentist I can have any crown work or denture manufacture contracted out to any dental factory in the world. I can just put the details in the post and send it off to India or China or whereever but I choose to have this work done in Ireland. Taxpayers have been hit so hard by the Government cutbacks.
"Yet in light of this, the Government is willing to fund an advanced factory which, by all accounts, will be operated by migrant workers who will then undercut existing Irish dental factories. I have no problem with this grant aid to attract employment opportunities for the people of the area who are a permanent part of the community,” Mr Riordan said.
One of the founders of the Hungarian Dental Clinic in Ballylanders, John Gallahue has once again rubbished suggestions by the IDA that a planned dental factory in Ballylanders which is to receive €700,000 in grant aid amounts to unfair state support for a project that could potentially cost Irish jobs.
“These statements are completely false, the dental factory will have nothing whatsoever to do with the Hungarian Dental Clinic. This company will not only bring employment to the area but will provide a service for dentists across the region,” Mr Gallahue said.
Meanwhile, Irish Dental Association CEO, Fintan Hourihan in a circular distributed to dental practices around the country said: ‘The various bodies (Enterprise Ireland, Limerick County Council, Limerick County Enterprise Board and Ballyhoura Development Ltd) that it has been claimed had provided grant aid to these operations in Ballylanders, have all confirmed to the Irish Dental Association that no such funding has been provided’.
These agencies have confirmed that funding has been provided to the Ballylanders community for the building of a Community Enterprise Centre. The Community Enterprise Centre Scheme, managed by Enterprise Ireland, provides facilities for emerging entrepreneurs and micro industry to establish businesses, provide employment and to grow their businesses in their own locality.
The centre in Ballylanders has not yet been built. The planning permission has not even been applied for. The enterprises that will be allowed to operate from the centre would then be subject to strict criteria. One of the criteria would be a check to see if a business or professional was already providing the service in the area.
If there were, then the applicant would not be allowed to avail of the concessionary nature of the building and would have to pay the full market rent and rates’. Mr Hourihan also stated that the IDA would be raising this matter along with other pressing issues in a meeting with the new Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly that is being sought as a matter of urgency.
Saturday 19th March 12:00pm