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Limerick Sinn Féin Public Meeting hears call for World Class National Health Service for Ireland

31 March, 2017 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Limerick Sinn Féin held a very constructive and informative public meeting on its party's proposals to tackle the crisis in our healthcare system especially in the Mid West region. The meeting was part of a process of outreach and stakeholder engagement on a National Health Service for Ireland.

The meeting which was well attended took place in Pery’s Hotel with the party’s Health Spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD as the main speaker.

Local Sinn Féin Deputy Maurice Quinlivan who hosted the meeting spoke along with local party Senator Paul Gavan.

Citing the ongoing crisis in University Hospital Limerick Deputy Quinlivan said;

“It is very clear that people are fed up of empty sound bites, and even emptier promises about how tomorrow things will be better. In 2004 the then Minister for Health Mary Harney declared a crisis in Healthcare. Thirteen years later the crisis continues and if anything has gotten worse.

“We need a proper debate on our healthcare system. We need a health service that will cater to our growing population and changing demographics where more people are being born and thankfully living longer. The crisis will only deepen if urgent action is not taken.

“We need increased investment in infrastructure and our public services especially our healthcare system.”

The Sinn Féin campaign, designed to consult and engage with health workers, unions and members of the public on a new vision for the Irish health service, will propose a radical shift in thinking on the need for a World Class National Health Service for Ireland.

Party spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD said;

“People have looked enviously to the National Health Service in Britain, but at the same time, are afraid of it. They are scaremongered into believing that an NHS for Ireland is unattainable; that it is too costly. This scaremongering is allied to efforts to push citizens into the private health market.

“For the first 40 years of its operation, the NHS was the lowest cost, most efficient and fairest system. The NHS guaranteed health care to all citizens without fear of catastrophic health care costs or being denied care.

“Unfortunately, that system was incrementally dismantled. The Tory Government, following a decade of incremental changes to the NHS, has moved to push the NHS to privatisation. But we in Sinn Féin are not afraid to replicate its best bits at its inception; its core principles; its vision; in the realisation of our own project.

“Sinn Féin is committed to the establishment of a World Class National Health Service for Ireland, free at the point of delivery and where patients are treated on the basis of medical need and nothing else.

“There are very clear opportunities within a united Ireland to reconfigure how we deliver health services across Ireland.  We strongly believe that it is necessary to legislate to place a duty on the Minister to provide services throughout Ireland. That is the only way to overcome the fragmentation, imbalance and inequity in resources.

“Tonight’s meeting is part of a process to highlight to people the system that they should be demanding of their elected representatives, that puts their health firmly at the centre of health deliberations, irrespective of income.

“In 2015, we published, Better4Health, a concise health policy document on a five year plan for health and we are drawing on this in our engagements.”


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