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Harney has no shred of credibility and should resign - Ó Caoláin

4 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that Health Minister Mary Harney does not retain a shred of credibility and should resign. He was commenting after Minister Harney said it was unacceptable that patients should have to wait long periods for an initial diagnosis of cancer.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"It has been revealed this week that public patients are still facing waiting times of up to a year and a half for vital tests, including colonoscopy examinations, for suspected cancers. This is in spite of all the false promises from Minister Harney and the Taoiseach about improvements in cancer care, especially diagnostics.

"Last October Susie Long died of cancer after her diagnosis was delayed for months because she was on a waiting list for a colonoscopy. At that time the Taoiseach admitted that Susie Long had been let down by the system.

"Mary Harney has been in this Government for over a decade. She has been Minister for Health & Children since 2003. She bears direct responsibility for a situation where public patients with symptoms which might indicate cancer have to wait for up to 18 months for vital tests. There is no excuse for this. The Minister says it is unacceptable. If it was unacceptable when she became Tánaiste in 1997 she has had a decade to address it and has failed.

"Minister Harney does not retain a shred of credibility and should resign." ENDS

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