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Taoiseach's announcement to step down right decision

2 April, 2008


Commenting on the announcement by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to step down, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin stated: "I welcome this morning's announcement by Bertie Ahern of his intention to step down as Taoiseach early next month. His position as leader of the Government has become untenable and his announcement to step down is the right decision. The glaring contradictions in his evidence which had been exposed at the Mahon Tribunal have made his position as leader of this government unsustainable.

"However I also welcome his announcement in the context of his government's complete failure to deliver an equitable and efficient and truly reformed public health service. For some time now I have made repeated calls on the Taoiseach to resign primarily because of the disastrous state of our health services.

"That said, it must be acknowledged that Bertie Ahern's contribution to the development of the Irish Peace Process was significant. He built on the work of his predecessor Albert Reynolds and played a key role in the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. The developing all-Ireland political process will require renewed energy and a more vigorous approach from Bertie Ahern's successor.

"The stepping down of Bertie Ahern offers a fresh opportunity for a new direction in Government policy. That should include the delivery of a truly equitable health service, the prioritisation of education and other public services and abandoning the privatisation agenda. The departure of Mary Harney along with Bertie Ahern would help but we will not hold our breaths." ENDS

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