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Cullinane attacks governments heartless treatment of cancer patients

13 May, 2004

Sinn Féin EU candidate for the South David Cullinane, speaking in advance of a Cancer Care Alliance meeting in Waterford tonight attacked the government for its heartless treatment of cancer patients in this state. He said it was a scandal that people with serious illnesses were being forced to travel long distances week in and week out because of the apartheid that exists in service provision. He called on the government to stop allowing Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy to dictate policy and re-iterated his demand for a radiotherapy unit to be set up in Waterford. Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin will be addressing the meeting, which takes place in the Granville Hotel in Waterford at 8pm on Thursday night.

Mr. Cullinane said:

"It is a scandal that the South East, with a population of 450,000 people, does not have its own Radiotherapy Unit, forcing seriously ill patients to travel long distances to Cork City week in and week out for treatment. The centralisation of radiotherapy in Dublin, Cork and Galway places an intolerable burden on families and this situation is exacerabated by the three months delay which now exists for public patients.

"The government have had seven years to deal with this issue and have failed time and time again. People are sick and tired of Charlie McCreevy dictating policy on life and death issues. Health Minister Micheal Martin needs to look beyond population templates and arbitary quotas and look at the reality on the ground for people in this region. It is obvious that there is a gross inequality in the distribution of cancer services and that the centralisation of radiotherapy services in Dublin, Cork and Galway discriminates against people who live outside of those cities. What is required and what people want is accessible care in their region based on the real conditions in this country - that is what the Minister must deliver."ENDS

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