“Where were backbenchers when cuts were imposed?” – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that threats from backbench TDs to withdraw support from the Fianna Fáil/Green government over health cuts are “very belated and more to do with saving their political skins than saving patients”. He urged people campaigning on health issues to keep up the pressure on Government-supporting TDs. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The day before the Dáil’s summer recess Deputies Noel Grealish, Mattie McGrath, Jimmy Devins and Eamonn Scanlan all voted for the bill to impose prescription charges on medical card holders. So much for their so-called stand against the Government.
“The protests from these backbenchers are very belated and have more to do with saving their political skins in the event of a General Election than with saving patients in our health system.
“We must ask where were these backbenchers when health cuts were being imposed since the last General Election in 2007?
The reality is that they have repeatedly voted confidence in the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney. This is the Minister who said last Friday that there was no more money for healthcare in the West while opening a €100 million extension to the private for-profit Blackrock Clinic, part of the private healthcare industry which she and her Government heavily subsidises at the expense of the public system.
“These backbenchers have also repeatedly voted confidence in the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and in the policies of his Government. That has included voting for savage budget cuts.
“The so-called rebels have stood over the recruitment embargo in the public health services, an embargo that is damaging patient care in all the regions.
“I would urge people campaigning on health issues in the regions and nationally to keep up the pressure on Government-supporting TDs and help to hasten the departure of a regime that has caused huge hardship in our public health services.” ENDS