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Reject Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael health privatisation plans – Ó Caoláin

22 April, 2016 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Full text of Caoimghín Ó Caoláin's Ard Fheis speech below:

With almost half a million people on waiting lists to be seen by consultants or scheduled for delayed or deferred procedures; with no Government in place and a caretaker Minister for Health who is apparently accountable to no one and who dodges the pertinent questions; Fianna Fáil under Mícheál Martin, a former Minister for Health who wreaked havoc in that portfolio with mismanagement and service cuts in a time of plenty, and yes, overshadowed by the one good thing he did introduce, the smoking ban, is about to put Enda Kenny and Fine Gael back in charge with every likelihood that ‘smiling boy’ Leo or some such media friendly face will continue Fine Gael and Labour’s style of oversight and under-resourcing of this most important of public service  portfolios.

We will hear more and more of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s Programme for Government commitment to universal healthcare.  Yes, I said Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s Programme for Government.  Let’s call it for what it is. But their vision of universal healthcare is markedly different from ours.  While we want to see universal healthcare delivered through a public health system funded by fair and direct taxation, accessible to all on the basis of need and need alone, the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael parties, the former now ready to ride the two horses of Government and Opposition at the same time, want a so called universal healthcare system based on a health insurance payer model, either single or multi player.  This is, and has always been recognised by its advocates, the essential forerunner to the ever broadening privatisation of healthcare delivery in this State.  That is the real agenda; that is the sub-text of their shared position and ambition for our health services into the future. And we must take them both on and head on in every fora across this land.

Mícheál Martin listen carefully.

We say no to the privatisation of healthcare.

We say no to universal healthcare insurance.

We say no, and when we say no we mean no, to Enda Kenny and Fine Gael being back in Government.  The electorate said no.  Even you said no.

But sure what would that mean. You were always going to do it anyway.

Sinn Féin has a plan for health.  Our fully costed policy document published in December has been well received across the health professions and by non-governmental organisations who represent and campaign on specific needs within our health services and for key reforms.

While I acknowledge and thank my own Comhairle Ceantair for commending my stewardship of this portfolio over many years, I want to recognise and record from this platform our thanks, all our thanks, to the members of the Health Policy Development Team.  They were Cllr. Mícheál MacDonnacha (Dublin City Council), Cllr. Darren O’Rourke (Meath County Council), Ciarán Doherty, Eoin Ó Murchú and Miriam Murphy.  Go raibh maith agaibh uilig.

In conclusion, I want to commend the motions in the Health Section for your support and to state that I look forward to continuing to work with you all, in whatever capacity, towards the realisation of our republican goals, including in healthcare delivery in this State and across all of Ireland.

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