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Time for UUP to remove McGimpsey from Executive

14 January, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd has called on the UUP to remove their failing Minister Michael McGimpsey from the Executive. Mr O’Dowd’s comments came after the Health Minister announced plans to target public sector workers in his budget plan.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“Michael McGimpsey has never been anything other than a semi detached member of the Executive. He has never sought to play a full role in Executive business beyond demanding more money for a department which already receives almost 50% of the budget without ever bringing forward a suggestion about where the additional revenue should come from. This from a man who last May campaigned on the very Tory manifesto that has delivered a £4bn cut in the block grant and who has continued to protect six figure salaries for heath trust bosses and consultants.

“Yesterday Mr McGimpsey once again failed to attend the Executive meeting. He went missing on the job the same way he did over Christmas as the swine flu situation developed.  Instead he spent his time doing media interviews on a departmental plan that he developed which deliberately targets public sector workers as part of a political agenda. His behaviour is disgraceful.

“The Executive collectively decided that each department needed to prioritise job retention as part of their departmental plans. Mr McGimpsey as part of a Tory agenda has instead embraced cuts and set out to reduce the size of the public sector. These moves are not about money they are ideological. It is up to each Minister to decide how to spend their allocation. Others have decided to protect public sector jobs, Mr McGimpsey has decided to target them. Look at Education for example, which is dealing with a much more difficult budget allocation than Health. There the Minister has moved resources from the capital budget in order to protect the jobs of frontline workers.

“The time has now come for the sake of public sector workers in the Health care sector that the UUP remove Mr McGimpsey from the Executive and replace him with someone who will stand up for the health service not seek to blindly follow the lead set by his Tory masters in London.”

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