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No confidence motion opportunity for Dáil Deputies to show where they stand on Cancer Care Crisis - Ó Caoláin

27 November, 2007

Speaking from the Dáil tonight party Dáil leader and Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD pledged Sinn Féin's full support of the motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health and Children Deputy Mary Harney.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Sinn Féin has no confidence in Minister Mary Harney's ability to preside over this country's health services. It is due to this certainty that we have also tabled our own motion of no confidence.

"This motion of no confidence we are debating has been made necessary by the extraordinary revelation at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children last Thursday that 97 women in the Midlands had to be recalled after their ultrasound scans were reviewed.

"Appalling is the only word to describe the plight of these 97 women who heard the news through the media. Why did they hear it through the media? Because it was revealed first in a public presentation by a HSE official at that Oireachtas Health Committee.

"We then had the most extraordinary situation where both the Minister for Health and Children Deputy Mary Harney and the Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive Professor Brendan Drumm stated that this public presentation at an Oireachtas Committee was the first that they had heard about the review of the ultrasound scans.

"There is no public confidence in the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney and no public confidence in the policy and management of our health services by this Fianna Fáil/Green/Progressive Democrats Government.

"The scandalous situation in the Midlands which has seen women misdiagnosed after cancer screening and then deplorably treated by the Health Service Executive demands that TDs of all parties now hold the Minister and the Cabinet accountable.

"Each and every Deputy has the opportunity at the vote tomorrow night to show where they stand on the crisis in cancer services and the shambles that is the health system presided over by this Minister, this Taoiseach and this Cabinet.

"What position will the government deputies representing the constituencies where these hospitals are located take in the vote tomorrow night?

"I would say to them the time for talking out of both sides of your mouths has ended. You can no longer get away with one message for your constituents and another message for the Government you support. It is time to put up or shut up.

"It is also time to challenge the badge 'independent' which is worn so proudly by some Deputies. If you cannot support a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health and Children in these circumstances you will have lost any shred of credibility in calling yourselves 'independent'. Take the opportunity to salvage that credibility and support the motion." CRÍOCH

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