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Dublin A&E overcrowding may worsen if EU Constitution passed

9 June, 2004

Sinn Fein's candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming EU elections, Mary Lou McDonald has warned of disastrous consequences for the Irish health sector if the EU Constitution is passed as it currently stands. She was speaking after reports that massive overcrowding in Dublin A&E units has led to scores of people waiting on trolleys and a warning to the public to stay away from A&E units unless absolutely necessary.

Ms McDonald said: "The Irish Nursing Organisation has described the overcrowding situation in Tallaght Hospital last night as the worst it has ever seen. Fifty seven people were left waiting on trolleys and another twenty waited for treatment in the A&E waiting room. That we have reached a situation where the public is being urged to stay away from A&E units in Dublin unless absolutely necessary points to a health system in our capital that is in crisis.

"As bad as this is however, the draft EU Constitution as it stands will remove the veto member states have on opening up the health sector to competition and privatisation. This would have disastrous consequences for patients and workers in the Irish health service.

"Sinn Fein is committed to ending the two tier health system and in Europe we will defend our health service from being opened up to companies whose only interest is profit so that we do not reach a situation in the future where the disgrace of last night is even more commonplace." ENDS

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