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Gerry Adams attends radiotherapy rally in Waterford

5 June, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in advance of today's radiotherapy rally in Waterford said the government should be ashamed of its heartless treatment of cancer patients throughout the state. Mr Adams said: "Seriously ill patients, from children to senior citizens, are being forced to travel long distances to Cork City week in and week out for treatment. The government has failed these people." Mr. Adams met with the march organisers in Waterford at lunchtime.

Mr Adams said:

"It is absolutely outrageous that people with serious illnesses are being forced to travel hundreds of miles to receive the most basic life saving treatment.

"If you take the South East as an example - the area has a population of 450,000 people but doesn't have its own Radiotherapy Unit. Seriously ill patients, from children to senior citizens, are being forced to travel long distances to Cork City week in and week out for treatment. The government has failed these people. The centralisation of radiotherapy in Dublin, Cork and Galway places an intolerable burden on families and this situation is exacerbated by the three months delay which now exists for public patients.

"This government has presided over a completely unequal health care system. Instead of delivering on the promises they made before the general election to provided more medical cards, more hospital beds and better care, they have given us the Hanly Report, which strips away services from already under-funded and under-resourced hospitals.

"People are suffering and dying unnecessarily, because this government can't get its act together and run a proper health service. The government needs to look beyond population templates and arbitrary quotas and look at the reality on the ground for people. What is required and what people want is accessible care in their region based on the actual conditions, not theoretical figures. The government must make it a priority to provide radiotherapy services to the regions which have been deprived of them for so long."ENDS

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