Sinn Féin TD for Louth and Meath East Imelda Munster has today raised the matter of the chronic shortage of paediatric occupational therapists in the primary care centre in Louth with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.
Deputy Munster criticised the government’s shameful record on waiting list times, despite being in government for seven years and committing to an enhanced primary care system in their Programme for Government.
Deputy Munster said:
“In order to clear the sheer backlog, eight occupational therapists would be required, and just to run a normal service would require four full time occupational therapists, yet the service only has a single part time occupational therapist.”
Deputy Munster also brought a letter received from the HSE by parents to the attention of the Taoiseach. The letter stated that the waiting time is twenty four months before a child can be seen.
“The government’s record on this matter is shameful. How can they stand over children having to wait over 2 years for much-needed occupational therapy? This is happening health centres across the State. It is not just a problem in Louth.
“The Taoiseach’s response today was that he understood the concerns of parents, well tea and sympathy is no good in this case. Real action is needed to rectify this matter.
"Taoiseach Varadkar needs to outline what active steps his government is taking to ensure that no child has to languish on a waiting list for over 2 years in order to access basic therapy.”
“I have contacted the Department of Health to find out exactly what, if anything, they are doing to rectify this, and to ensure that every child has access to early intervention therapy without having to endure years on a waiting list, while the government turns a blind eye”.
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams this afternoon hosted a briefing by the family of Siobhán Philips in the Oireachtas.Speaking after the briefing, Deputy Adams said:“Sinn Féin supports the call by the family of Siobhán Phillips for a full impendent public inquiry.
"This is a very tragic case. Garda Golden was murdered, Siobhán Philips was grievously wounded, and Crevan Mackin took his own life."Crevan Mackin was previously arrested in January 2015 in possession of explosives and firearm, which he admitted.
"He was not charged with these offences but instead with an offence he had denied. It is also believed that some in An Garda Síochána knew he had access to other weapons.
"All of this is clear from a file that was sent to me and which I gave to the investigating officer in the Garda, to GSOC to the former Taoiseach and former Minister of Justice and to the current Taoiseach and the current Minister for Justice.
"It's two years, and the family also have issues about the treatment they received when they brought Siobhán, who had been severely assaulted by Crevan Mackin, to Dundalk Garda station.
"The only way that all of the facts can be ascertained in a transparent and accountable way is through a public inquiry.”
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has called on the government to immediately move to shut down remaining tax avoidance loopholes in Irish legislation, following the publication of a new report on the tax havens used by US Fortune 500 companies and the profits they book offshore.
Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry, was speaking in response to the publication this week of the 2017 edition of ‘Offshore Shell Games’, produced by the US-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
“Once again, the Irish state is described in a major academic study as being a tax haven for the world’s wealthiest corporations. It is listed as the sixth most used tax haven for Fortune 500 companies to establish subsidiaries in, following the Netherlands at number one, Singapore, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
“This report charts the increasing hoarding of cash offshore by these corporations between 2010 and 2016. Fortune 500 companies are now holding an astonishing $2.6 trillion in accumulated profits offshore for tax purposes. Four of these companies collectively account for a quarter of this sum – Apple, Pfizer, Microsoft and General Electric.
“All four of these companies have subsidiaries in Ireland – in fact, of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies in terms of the amount of profits they book offshore, nine have subsidiaries operating in the Irish state. In the cases of Apple and Google, they only list subsidiaries in Ireland.
“According to this report, Apple has booked $246 billion offshore, more than any other company in the world. Every single cent has been booked through Irish subsidiaries, resulting in the company avoiding paying $76.7 billion in taxes in the US.
“Through its use of the Double Irish tax avoidance scheme, Google has increased the amount of earnings it reported offshore from $12.3 billion in 2009 to $60.7 billion.”
“The government must immediately scrap the Double Irish, and legislate against the use of corporate inversions, which were highlighted as a key tax avoidance technique in this report.
“This offshore scam is the single most important factor contributing to the obscene inequality we can see increasing rapidly around the world. For the Irish state to play a role in this global chain of tax avoidance is abhorrent and indefensible. We need decisive and immediate action to stop this behaviour that goes beyond the bare minimum agreed to by the OECD.”
Note to editors:
The report is available here: https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/offshoreshellgames2017.pdf
On the methodology it used to define a jurisdiction as a tax haven, the report says the following: "The list of 50 tax havens used is based on lists from four sources compiled by the Congressional Research Service using similar characteristics to define tax havens. These sources were the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the National Bureau of Economic Research, a U.S. District Court order and a GAO report" (p24).
Francie Molloy MP has described as 'important' the publication of research outlining greater rates of poverty, discrimination, and mental and physical health problems among the Irish migrant community in Britain.
Speaking from London following an event discussing ‘Health and Identity of Irish in Britain’ organised by Irish in Britain, the Mid Ulster MP said:
“This research showing greater rates of child poverty, depression and other mental health difficulties is a hugely important contribution to the discussions surrounding the Irish community in Britain.
“Second generation Irish migrants in Britain suffer disproportionately from severe health and social issues which affect them hugely in areas such as life chances, employment, and quality of life.
“I commend the academics involved and the Irish in Britain group for encouraging this important discussion.”
Sinn Féin MPs Francie Molloy and Mickey Brady have met with representatives of Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party (SNP) in a series of engagements today in London.
Speaking following today’s meetings Francie Molloy provided an update on the ongoing talks process in the north of Ireland, and stressed the impact of Brexit on communities across Ireland:
“Today was an important opportunity to engage with members of the British opposition on a range of important issues,” he said.
“We made it clear that designated special status within the EU was the best way to protect Ireland north and south from a disastrous Tory Brexit.
“Our cross-party engagements on these issues are critical.
“These meetings give Sinn Féin MPs the opportunity to update the British opposition on the denial of rights, enjoyed by citizens everywhere else in these islands, which are at the heart of political deadlock in the north.”
Sinn Féin TD for Carlow-Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has said that women will continue to miss out on equal pension payments according to the State’s current legislation simply by virtue of the fact that they are women .
Speaking this evening in the Dáil, Teachta Funchion said:
"The fact that women are receiving around €35 less per week in their pensions because they took time out of work to care for their families is wrong, outdated and goes contrary to the principles of gender equality.
"People are rightly outraged at this unfair discrimination which is in fact increasing year-on-year in the number of people it impacts.
"The National Women's Council of Ireland has said that since Budget 2018 was announced last week they have been inundated with calls from women, some of them who have only reached pension age and realised that they have limited or no entitlement to a State pension.
"Equally, I have been asked time and again about this situation by women from across my constituency.
"Tens of thousands of pensioners are suffering because of cuts made in 2012 and it was seriously disappointing that none of last week’s budget announcements addressed the issue.
"In our alternative budget, Sinn Féin did provide for a reversal of the 2012 cuts. It would cost the Exchequer €70 million but the Government chose to ignore this proposal.
"Our party also called for the 2012 changes to be reversed and for a remedy to be implemented last year in December through a Private Members Bill which both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voted against and did not support.
"The Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty said today on Morning Ireland that she is looking at reforms but she claims that the system is already 'fair'.
"And that 'In every complex system there are winners and losers and in this system there is an anomaly that disadvantages a very small number of people relative to the large number of pensioners that we have'. Fair is not how I would describe this system.
"It is a scandal that Minister Doherty feels this way about legislation which reduces so many old age pensioners in their earned entitlements for the simple fact that they are women and were discriminated against based on their circumstances.
"Yes, it needs to be reviewed as a whole, but this should be expedited urgently by the Minister and the necessary changes must be made a priority."
Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey MLA, party spokesperson on Welfare Rights and Anti-Poverty, has called on the DUP to end its support for a Tory government wedded to welfare cuts.
Alex Maskey said:
"The implementation of Universal Credit should be halted immediately.
"The DUP should withdraw their support for a Tory government wedded to austerity and welfare cuts.
"Having already given the Tory government a blank cheque on Brexit, and voting to maintain the public sector pay cap, by propping up this Tory government the DUP are facilitating austerity and attacks on society's most vulnerable.
"Universal Credit is a policy that is riddled with faults, complications and delays. It is a policy that was supposedly designed to simplify the benefits system but in reality has caused more hardship and deepened poverty.
“There is growing cross-party concerns over Universal Credit including from senior Tories and former Prime Minister John Major who has called for a review of this system.
"The reality is that Universal Credit is an instrument of the Tory assault on the most vulnerable in our society.
"The only answer to the problems associated with Universal Credit is to end Tory austerity and their ideologically driven attacks on our public services."
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has called for closed beds at the National Rehabilitation Hospital to be reopened and for more investment to be forthcoming to address chronic waiting lists.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“In January of this year the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) had to close twelve beds across the brain injury and spinal cord system programmes because of funding and staffing issues and in order to ensure safe patient care.
“While two of these beds were reopened after dialogue with the HSE, and two more are targeted to be reopened at the end of October subject to successful of recruitment of staff, eight still remain closed even though the NRH has a waiting list of some 236 patients.
"Some of these patients are being forced to wait up to three months for life-changing treatment.
“In the main, these closures are due to funding and recruitment and retention issues as well as a lack of expansion at the NRH.
“It is imperative that the closed beds are reopened immediately because the numbers of beds for the different programmes in the NRH are already low and the waiting lists excessively long.
"For example, as of September there were 164 people on the waiting list for the brain injury programme at the NRH, yet this programme only has 50 beds.
“There are similar difficulties for the spinal cord programme which can cater for 32 patients but has a three-month list waiting list with 48 people waiting for treatment as of September.
“On top of this, delayed discharges, becuse of a lack of step down facilities and aftercare, mean that 12 to 15 per cent of beds in the brain and spinal wards are not available.
“The work that is done by all at the NRH is amazing and changes people’s lives. That beds should be closed due to a lack of funding is disgraceful.”
“The Government should be properly funding the Health Service, and in particular services such as those at the NRH, instead of cutting taxes as they did in Budget 2018."
Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has welcomed an announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that an initial 240 civil servants will relocate to new headquarters in Ballykelly by March 2018.
The East Derry MLA said:
“News that 240 staff members will move to the £20m facility in the first phase of relocation is to be welcomed.
“The move by my party leader Michelle O'Neill as former Agriculture Minister to decentralise the DARD headquarters to Ballykelly was a positive step for the North West and employment in the area.”
Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams today called on the government to introduce legislation to give power to the Central Bank to force Banks to deal with the scandal of tracker mortgages.
The Sinn Féin leader raised the issue after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s today said that the government has lost patience with the Banks over the tracker mortgage scandal.
Gerry Adams said:
“Over two years ago, the Central Bank began to investigate the scandal of some mortgage holders who had been prevented from paying a tracker mortgage linked to European Central Bank rates and were forced to pay higher charges.
“The Central Bank has revealed that just one in four customers, that we are aware of, who faced these higher mortgage charges has received compensation.
“As a result of the decision of the banks, we know that at least 23 families lost their homes; 79 other people lost properties that were buy-to-let properties and, according to the banks, this figure will rise.
“The banks have acknowledged that it expects more than twenty thousand homeowners to be impacted by this scandal.
“The Taoiseach has described this behaviour as scandalous. He has said there is a need for a clear time line for redress and compensation.
“At the same time, the Central Bank has said that it can do little for those who have been affected by the unscrupulous actions of the Banks before 2013.
“Does the government plan to give the Central Bank additional powers to force those banks that are responsible for this scandal to face up to their responsibilities? And to deal properly with the homeowners?”
In his response, Taoiseach Varadkar said that he wasn’t ruling out giving additional new powers to the Central Bank.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD told the Taoiseach that he fears “the government is sleep-walking into a deeper crisis in Anglo-Irish relationships” in relation to the threat from the British government of a return to direct rule in the North.
Teachta Adams added;
“British rule in Ireland has failed. It failed in this part of the island and it failed in the North.
“What we need to see is the Good Friday Agreement fully implemented.
“The current crisis is caused by broken agreements.
“Any return to British direct rule would be a breach of the St Andrews Agreement. That would be in addition to the other existing breaches.
“So, rather than peddling false information about the current state of the talks process, the Taoiseach needs to advise the British Prime Minister that the government is absolutely opposed to any return to British direct rule and that he expects the British government to fulfil and to hold to their obligations agreements to which the Irish government is a co-guarantor.”
Speaking following Leader Questions this afternoon, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said “the Taoiseach refused to guarantee a remedy for pensioners who are losing-out on their full pension entitlement due to the unfair changes made in 2012.”
Teachta Adams added;
“I told the Taoiseach that the issue before us is the urgent need for a very straight forward solution to a very obvious injustice, which disproportionately affects women.
“Many pensioners are losing out on as much as €30 a week.
“I know that many members of the cabinet may not understand the value of €30. For members of the Cabinet this may be the cost of a bottle of wine or some other luxury but it is a significant amount of money for ordinary citizens who are living week to week on very little.
“I asked the Taoiseach if he will ensure that the Social Welfare Bill will remedy this very important matter. He refused to provide such a guarantee.
“The government and Fianna Fáil have had numerous opportunities to provide a solution to this discrimination but they refused each time.
“They negotiated a Confidence and Supply Agreement and two budgets which failed to address the problem.
“Despite the fact that he blocked a Sinn Féin motion calling for a reversal of the 2012 changes last December, Micheál Martin has tonight tabled a motion with the aim of achieving an outcome he opposed ten months ago.
“The sly political maneouvering by the establishment parties around this injustice is a scandal.
“The Taoiseach must now make it clear how he plans to rectify this matter and tell these pensioners when they will get their money.”
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called on the government to act quickly to provide assurance that all Setanta customers will ultimately be covered by the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF).
He raised the issue with the Taoiseach today as it emerged that solicitors and barristers acting for the Liquidator and ICF have been given time by the Court to seek assurances from government in relation to the position of Defendants who are, in theory, liable for what is not covered by the Liquidator and ICF.
Deputy Doherty said:
“The news that the legal team of the ICF and the Liquidator have called a pause to the Setanta cases is very concerning for those claimants awaiting payment and for those who, properly and legally insured at the time, now face being sued for what is not covered by the ICF and liquidation.
“The ICF can only cover 65% of a claim while the latest indications from the Liquidator suggest that the liquidation will only add another 22% to this figure. That leaves a 13% hole that claimants must go without or seek from those who are liable for the accident even though they were insured at the time.
“The draft legislation being prepared by government moves to a 100% cover regime in future cases like Setanta but for those in the current legal processes this is meaningless. That law needs to be accelerated and in the meantime the political assurances being sought by the lawyers must be given by government. The arrogant dismissal of the issue by the Taoiseach this morning helps nobody.
“Legal documents I have seen make it crystal clear that this is a political and not a legal call that needs to be made. The fair call is to protect all the claimants and customers of Setanta so that nobody is left without their entitlement to compensation or facing potentially large damages awarded against them even though they were legitimately insured at the time.”
Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis today challenged An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the plans to close one of the busiest post offices in the country saying that the plan defies logic.
The Dublin North-West TD said:
“Today, I challenged the Taoiseach on the plans to close the post office in the Spar shop on Glasnevin Avenue at the end of November.
“This post office is a valuable resource for our local community and the plans to close it has cause great anger amongst the community. This closure will particularly affect those who are disabled in our community, senior citizens and those collecting social welfare and other benefits. The post office is one of the busiest in the country with an estimated footfall of between eight and ten thousand customers a week. The loss of this post office will result in incalculable hardships for the surrounding community. So, the plans to close this successful post office defy logic.
“This closure has nothing to do with the viability of this post office and has more to do with a calculated strategy by An Post to downsize the number of its post offices across the country regardless of their importance to the community or their economic viability.
“I urged the Taoiseach and Minister Denis Naughten to keep this post office open. I would encourage the community to write to An Post, the Taoiseach and Minister Naughten to express their anger and outrage at this proposed closure of this valuable community resource.”
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communities and Rural Development Carol Nolan TD has called on the Government to address the excessive bureaucracy associated with the LEADER programme so that the funding can reach rural communities in a timely manner. Teachta Nolan was speaking on the matter today in the Dáil.
Teachta Nolan said:
“Page 42 of the Programme for Government commits to work with local authorities, local action groups and local communities to ensure that LEADER funding delivers the maximum possible benefit for communities.
“One of the main concerns with the new programme is the stifling bureaucracy associated with the application and approval process.
“Recent figures from the Department show that only 335 projects have been approved to date, compared with 2,886 projects approved in the first two years of the previous programme.
“Only €8.25 million of a budget of €250 million has been approved, but only a portion of that has been directed to projects.
“It is clear that the current system is not delivering this much needed funding to communities.
“It is ironic that previously Ireland was held up as an example of best practice in the administration of LEADER funding.
“Other European countries have now implemented systems based on the community led model previously in practice in Ireland.
“The Government needs to acknowledge that the new changes have not worked.
“It must ensure that the issues affecting the LEADER programme are tackled immediately in order to free up this vital source of funding to deliver critical projects in rural areas.”
Time is running out for the DUP and British Government to recognise that rights and the implementation of previous agreements will be key to any deal in the Stormont talks, Sinn Féin's Northern Leader has said.
Michelle O'Neill was commenting after British Secretary of State James Brokenshire told Westminster that an Executive must be formed by November in order to set a budget.
"We’re now in the fourth phase of negotiations this year," Michelle O'Neill said.
"Sinn Féin have been consistent in our resolve to restore the institutions on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement with equality, rights and respect at their core.
"I said last week that challenges remain in order to deliver sustainable institutions.
"One way or another, this process is coming to an end.
"Sinn Féin is determined to achieve a successful conclusion and to see the institutions re-established.
"If the British Government and the DUP want a deal, they should end their denial of basic rights which are protected everywhere else on these islands. Language rights, marriage equality and the right to proper coroners inquests.
"To date, they have refused to do so.
"The institutions only have value if they enjoy the confidence of the people and time is now running out for the DUP and British Government to decide whether they are prepared to end their denial of rights and implement previous agreements as basic requirements of any sustainable and credible government."ENDS/CRIOCH
Sinn Féin TD for Meath West Peadar Tóibín has said that he is “appalled” at the government’s decision to take €10 million from LEADER funding to support the Local Improvement Scheme.
Deputy Tóibín received a response from a parliamentary question from Minister Ring outlining that LEADER funding had in fact decreased dramatically this year, contrary to the stated budget headings.
Minister Ring stated that his Department “sought approval from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to transfer €10 million from LEADER to support measures under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) in 2017”.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“LEADER is pivotal in providing local communities the resources they need to develop their areas. While the LIS which supports improvement works on private and non-public roads has obvious merits, I am appalled at the manner it has been funded – effectively robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“The government and Fianna Fáil are complicit in producing a budget which is deliberately deceptive in its promises. This is a prime example. The original budgetary allocation for LEADER in 2017 was €40 million. This was quietly reduced during the year to €30 million.
“In this year’s Budget, the government announce €5 million additional funding for LEADER in 2018. However this was based on the reduced figure of €30 million, bringing this year’s allocation to €35 million. Therefore, significant cuts to funding during the year are concealed on the sly and are actually repackaged as an increase.
“This information has come to me via a parliamentary question to the Minister. It was in no way clear from the Budget figures themselves. The LIS has since been marketed about the country as a coup for Minister Ring when in fact the budget for essential community funding was being pilfered.
“LEADER funding has been of huge importance to rural communities throughout Ireland. Having once been a shining light for community leadership, changes brought about by Phil Hogan in 2014 have resulted in obtaining funds for local groups as a bureaucratic nightmare.
“Citizens have been made jump through 18 bureaucratic hoops just to achieve funding before they even start the particular project that they are seeking to develop. The over wrought process has ensured that only a hand full of projects have so far received funding in each county. Despite claims that the process has been reformed, funds are still not getting through to projects on the ground.
“LIS funding was initially announced at the Ploughing Championships last month, with the Taoiseach stating that ‘It's only right and fair that some of the motor tax, excise duty on fuel and local property tax paid by people in rural areas is invested in the repair of shared laneways’. He omitted to say the true source of funding for the scheme.”
Note: Please see the PQ in question below
For Written Answer on : 17/10/2017
Question Number(s): 541 Question Reference(s): 43896/17
Department: Rural and Community Development
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the value of increase in the LEADER allocation for 2018 compared to the allocation for 2017 that was announced in budget 2017; and if the 2017 budget allocation was revised at some point, the detail of same.
The total amount of funding provided for the LEADER Programme over the period 2014-2020 is €250 million. LEADER is a multi-annual programme and the €250 million will be drawn down over the full lifetime of the programme.
The original allocation for LEADER for 2017 was €40 million, as reflected in the Vote for the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Following the transfer of functions from that Department to the Department of Rural and Community Development in July this year, a review of expenditure was carried out across all transferring programme areas in the context of the preparation of the 2018 Budget and Estimates.
While project approvals under LEADER have increased substantially since June, total expenditure under LEADER this year is likely to be less than anticipated. My Department therefore sought approval from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to transfer €10 million from the LEADER subhead (reducing allocation to €30 million in 2017) to support measures under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) in 2017. There was clearly sufficient demand to support the LIS scheme this year and the transfer of funding from LEADER does not, in any way, reduce the Government’s commitment to provide €250 million to LEADER over the duration of the programme.
The revisions to the allocations will be reflected in a Further Revised Estimate for my Department which will be presented to the Select Committee on Rural and Community Development shortly.
The provision sought in the 2018 Estimates for the LEADER programme is €35 million. I am satisfied this level of increase is in line with anticipated activity under the LEADER Programme in 2018. I will be keeping this under review.
Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis expressed his frustration with Fingal County Council to the Minister of State for Housing Damien English at the lack of progress in the development of a major greenfield site at Dunsink Lane.
The Dublin North-West TD said:
“In the midst of this housing crisis, I raised in the Dáil the exceptional potential of a large greenfield site at Dunsink Lane. Speaking directly to the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, I alerted him to the real potential of utilising these council lands for the construction of badly needed social and affordable houses which will help to alleviate the current housing crisis.
“These lands consist of approximately 1,000 acres around Dunsink Lane. 300 acres is owned by Fingal County Council, 200 acres is part of the old tip head and 150 acres takes in Dunsink Observatory and surrounding lands. The rest is privately owned.
“We have the potential to build depending on density between 4,500 and 12,000 social and affordable housing units on this virtually greenfield site. The lands are ideally located being only 4kmn from the city centre, close to the M50 and local amenities such as the Royal canal, the Phoenix Park, and Blanchardstown shopping centre.
“I am concerned that, according to the Minister, Fingal council will be doing additional studies on the areas potential and requirements for development.
“I have been raising the potential for the development of these lands with Fingal county council for years. What we don’t need now is another feasibility study. It is very frustrating that we still have had no real movement on developing the lands in this area.
“Now that the Minister has been made aware of the full extent of the potential of this ideal site at Dunsink Lane, I hope he will encourage Fingal County Council to begin to develop these lands for urgently needed housing with any further delay.”
The Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution has concluded the first module dealing with proposals amending the constitution.
Sinn Féin have tabled a motion calling for the complete repeal of the 8th Amendment from the Constitution and believe that the vote on this motion should take place today before moving onto the second module dealing with the other recommendations of the Citizen’s Assembly.
We are calling on all members of the Committee to support our motion today at the meeting of the Committee.
Mickey Brady MP has met with women who’ve suffered from complications from mesh implants in Westminster, following a meeting of the all-party group on surgical mesh implants.
The Newry and Armagh MP said:
“Mesh implants are used as a treatment for various health issues, and many women have received them as an element of their medical treatment.
“But recently many cases have come to light where unforeseen complications resulting from the procedure have left women with debilitating conditions and life altering side effects, including chronic pain. Adverse effects have also been found in some men following similar procedures. One person hurt by mesh, is one person too many,
“I was deeply moved by the stories of these women today. This is an issue impacting upon women in my own constituency. Sinn Féin MLAs recently met with representatives of some of the 200 women who have been adversely affected in the north of Ireland. Sadly, however, this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg of what could be a major public health scandal.
“Due to these complications many patients urgently need a clinical reassessment, and for some further surgical intervention is required.
“We will continue to support patients afflicted by surgical complications. All those affected should have immediate access to the appropriate treatment.
"Sinn Féin is calling for a moratorium on the use of surgical mesh implants and a public inquiry into the use of surgical mesh implants."