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Competition Authority heavy handed tactics unhelpful - Ó Snodaigh

15 December, 2007

Responding to the news this weekend that the Competition Authority raided the offices of the Irish Pharmaceutical Union IPU during the week Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the action of the Authority as heavy handed and unhelpful to the ongoing negotiations between the HSE and IPU.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“From the outset of this dispute between the HSE and pharmacists Sinn Féin called on Health Minister Mary Harney to oversee negotiations between the HSE and the Irish Pharmacists Union.

“It simply never makes sense for one party to refuse dialogue, regardless of the excuse, with another with a dispute arises. Arguably government bodies have an even greater responsibility to exhaust every avenue of dialogue in an effort to seek resolution to conflicts with key public service providers.

“The HSE hid behind the coat tails of the Competition Authority during the dispute until forced to engage in dialogue with the IPU, albeit in a contrived way, after huge public and political pressure was heaped on them in the Dáil, Seanad, local authorities and most importantly the general public.

“The Competition Authority’s actions during this dispute have been heavy handed and inappropriate. During the dispute staff from the Authority, accompanied by Gardaí, served summonses on a number of pharmacists in the city for alleged breaches of competition law.

“Such actions by a statutory body in a democratic state are wholly inappropriate. Minister Harney must immediately intervene by calling off the Competition Authority so as to ensure the HSE and IPU can conclude their negotiations through the agreed mechanism to a successful conclusion. Such an objective is in all our interests ” CRÍOCH

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