Health Minister in hiding
Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald today led a demonstration organised by the party outside Health Minister Mary Harney’s constituency office in Clondalkin in response to the governments decision to means test the over 70s access to medical cards.
The Dublin MEP said:
“This week the government delivered a terrible blow against the most vulnerable in Irish society. Worst hit were those on low to middle incomes, however the governments decision to withdraw universal healthcare for the over 70s is perhaps the biggest blow of all.
“Shame on the Health Minister and her government partners for Budget 2009. It is a slash and burn approach that attacks those on low to middle incomes whilst continuing to shelter the higher paid from paying their fair share.
“We are here at the Health Minister’s constituency office today to demand that she reverse the decision to withdraw automatic medical card provision for the over 70s. Quite rightfully there is deep anger and confusion throughout the state against this decision.
“It is outrageous that the Taoiseach and Health Minister continue to justify this decision as a necessary cost measure. Prior to the budget Sinn Féin had called for all discretionary tax relief schemes to be available at the standard rate. This would have yielded €1billion to the Exchequer. It is staggering that the government chose instead to only tinker with this.
“It is also remarkable that government now appear to be looking to the IMO to resolve the political swamp they have landed themselves in. Fianna Fáil and their government partners are simply not up to the job of managing the states affairs. The IMO cannot solve this, only government can.
“Following this weeks savage budget and governments inept handling of the credit scheme terms and conditions which has given the taxpayer no payback whatsoever for guaranteeing the banks people are now asking themselves, is this government up to the job? This is a fair question and one that will need to be answered sooner rather than later.” ENDS