Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Councillor Imelda Munster – local hospital campaign - Ard Fheis 2012

26 May, 2012

A Chairde is Míse Imelda Munster, Bobby Sands Cumann Droichead Átha, Co Lú. As an elected representative to both town and Co Council, I see at first hand the effects of the savage cuts , continued hacking away of our public services and the results of the right wing political decisions made by this Fine Gael/Labour government .

Sinn Féin has challenged this government on its failure to take action on the allegations of sexual abuse in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda. It is now over 17 years since allegations of sexual abuse of patients at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda were first made. When in opposition James Reilly TD, now the Minister for Health, called for an immediate inquiry into the sexual abuse of patients in the Lourdes Hospital.

Many of the 200 victims have been waiting decades, and are still suffering and battling today for justice and truth. Sinn Féin fully supports, and will continue to insist on the establishment of Independent Commission of Inquiry into the allegations of sexual abuse of patients in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. We will not allow this government to turn their back on them or to continue to ignore them or their right to seek justice.

The health services in Ireland today are characterised on the one hand by a high level of dedication and skill on the part of those who work in them and on the other by major structural problems, under-resourcing, and a lack of coherent leadership to solve these problems, all of which has led to an island wide healthcare crisis. Indeed our local Hospital regularly tops the list for the highest number of patients waiting on trollies, despite the best efforts of the caring frontline staff.

Save Our Cottage Hospital Campaign Group is a Drogheda community based reaction against a political decision taken by Fine Gael /Labour to close down the Cottage hospital. HIQA (the Health Information and Quality Authority) has clearly stated that the hospital is safe, suitable and fit for purpose. I am secretary of the campaign group, and have watched people from all occupations stand shoulder to shoulder and take a stand on behalf of their community. The Cottage hospital is a cornerstone within Drogheda’s community. Drogheda citizens have stood together, and rejected the callous decision made to close their hospital: they have continuously called on Drogheda Labour TD, and Fine Gael Junior Minister to use their positions to oppose the closure. Thus far, they have both failed to do that, not once have either of them stood up in Leinster House and publicly told their Minister that they will not stand idly by and allow him to take away the twenty nine public long term care and respite beds for our elderly citizens nor have either stated publicly that they will oppose their \Ministers attempts to close public beds for the long term care of our elderly.

The people of Louth do not deserve such weak and limp like representatives in government. The reason for closing this hospital and St Josephs in Ardee clearly show this governments intention to privatise the provision of health care of our elderly.

This is compounded as Home help hours are to be cut this year by 500,000 compared to 2011 further depriving older people of much-needed support and care in the comfort of their own homes as the overall percentage of elderly people in the community is increasing across the state

Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples, which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures. Sinn Féin believes healthcare is a right and should be universally provided, free of charge and paid for through a progressive taxation system.

It must meet the needs of all citizens and treat them all on a basis of equality, instead of prioritising the provision of a decent public health system; the government is prioritising the payment of bondholders and bankers.

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