Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today recalled his recent personal experience in a health service in serious difficulty because of health cuts.
Teachta Adams described the government’s austerity policies as “taking money from working people and from the most vulnerable and essential public services to pay off the debts of the banks and the elites.”
The Louth TD accused the government of preparing to cut €500 million from the Social Welfare budget while handing over €598 million today to senior bondholders.
Today’s payment is part of €1.14 billion that will be paid in the next three days to senior bondholders for bonds formerly held by Irish nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank.
Deputy Adams said:
“The central problem the state is facing is the failure of government policies and those of Fianna Fáil.
“The government’s austerity policy is based on taking money from working people or from the most vulnerable and using to pay off the debts of the elites. That’s the crux of the failure of its policy.
“So for all the apparent disagreement within the cabinet they are fully in agreement that €500 million should be cut from the Social Welfare Budget while senior bondholders are paid in full. This week €1.14 billion worth of bonds formerly held by Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank are to be paid.
“Today a bond worth €598 million will be paid, that’s more than the €500 million the government plans to take from citizens who receive social welfare.
“It is a fact that citizens need certainty if they are to have the confidence to spend their money and if the domestic economy is to have any chance of recovery. The austerity policies of the government are stripping away that certainty. Along with the absence of a coherent and effective job creation and retention strategy the government is failing to invest in the economy and public services.
“One consequence of this is the crisis in the health service.
“I recently had personal experience of that when I hurt myself cycling. I attended Louth County Hospital which could not treat me and had to be taken by ambulance to Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda. I spent the night on a hospital trolley and saw for myself the great hardship this imposes on the sick and elderly and young.
“Over the next few days as I returned to hospital for tests I also witnessed the great work done by dedicated nursing and medical staff.
“The HSE and the Minister for Health are also proposing that Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and Navan in County Meath will have their services cut yet again because of the Government’s austerity policies.
“Austerity is not working. It is crippling the economy and destroying our public services, particularly our health service.
“Sinn Féin strongly believes that there is a better and fairer way out of this economic crisis.
“In the coming period we will be outlining our own proposals for investing in jobs and in the autumn we will be launching our own budget alternative.”