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Ó Caoláin appeals to Government backbenchers to support Crumlin Children’s Hospital

23 June, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has appealed to Government backbenchers to make a stand on the issue of children’s lives and support this evening’s private members motion on Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “It is shameful that the Government, in the name of the Oireachtas elected by the people, has been responsible for such a betrayal of children. It is shameful that parents have to shake collection tins to send their children abroad for vital operations that can and should be provided here by the excellent staff of our public health services.

“Most parents, when necessary, will sacrifice everything for their children, even life itself. The parents of children requiring treatment in Crumlin can only look aghast at the Government’s refusal to provide the essential support that the hospital needs. They are rightly incensed that this suffering is being visited on their children because of a cut of €9.1 million. The concept of a billion euros is beyond the imagination of most of us yet many multiples of this in taxpayers’ money is being poured into the corrupt financial institutions which have helped to bring our economy to its knees.

“Public and political pressure, including the tabling of this motion which we in Sinn Féin fully support, has apparently resulted in some respite from further cuts, and I stress further cuts. The reality is that the hospital remains in crisis because of the funding cuts of €9.1 million already imposed in 2009. As a result of those cuts children are suffering.

“Operations are being cancelled and postponed. Parents and children are being put through anguish and agony. Children could be more severely disabled as a result of these entirely avoidable delays to the essential surgery they so desperately need. The lives of some children may even be shortened.

“Minister Harney in response to the distress of parents can only resort again to her mantra about the need for the reorganisation of children’s hospital services in Dublin. But what is to happen to these sick children in the meantime, Minister?

One 13-year old girl with scoliosis has been on a waiting list for surgery since last August and has now had her appointment for July cancelled. The older this child gets the worse becomes the curvature of her spine, the more serious and perilous becomes the surgery she will have to face and the poorer her chances of living a near to normal life. Minister Harney, in reply to a Dail Question, claimed that the National Treatment Purchase Fund was seeking to arrange operations in the private system for this patient and others. When the family inquired they found that this was not the case.

“Is there even one Government backbencher with the courage to come out from the shadows and make a stand on this issue of children’s lives? I appeal to them to do so.” ENDS

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