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Health & well being of constituents in Dáil Deputies hands – Ó Caoláin

28 November, 2007

Speaking today from Leinster House Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today confirmed the party's support of this evening's motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health and Children Deputy Mary Harney. Sinn Féin have also tabled our own motion of no confidence.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Minister Harney has arrived at this juncture due to 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.

"Those in attendance at the committee meeting witnessed the most extraordinary situation where both Minister Harney and HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm stated that this was the first time that they had heard about the review of the ultrasound scans.

"There is clearly 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.

"In a recent interview in An Phoblacht leading oncologist Professor John Crown was asked what he considered the biggest single deficiency in the health service and he stated: "The single biggest deficiency is inequity. It is deliberately engineered. We have a two-tier system because the people running it want a two-tier system. The number of people availing of the public system will decline. The number of people going private is getting bigger."

"Each and every Deputy who has campaigned alongside communities in their fight to retain local services now has the opportunity at the vote tonight night to show where they stand on the crisis in cancer services. Deputy's can no longer get away with one message for their constituents and another message for the Government they support.

"Minister Harney and her cabinet colleagues are responsible for the fundamentally flawed policies and gross mismanagement which has led to situations such as this. Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have had over a decade to deliver the 'world-class health service' they promised.

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

"Minister Harney should go - she should never have been appointed in the first place - but that will not be enough. Government policy must also change fundamentally and there must be real political accountability for health policy and health service management. Each and every Dáil Deputy can, through this vote, advance the prospect of the introduction of the desperately needed policy change in healthcare delivery demanded by an ever growing section of our population. The health and well being of their constituents is quite literally in their hands."CRíOCH

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