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Government underfund health service in order to prioritise tax cuts – O’Reilly

10 October, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has expressed her utter dismay given that Budget 2018 has underfunded the health service in order prioritise tax cuts. 

Teachta O’Reilly said: 

“It is an utter disgrace that, in the middle of a crisis that affects every facet of the health service, this Government has decided to underfund the health service in order to prioritise tax cuts. 

“Today, the Minister of Finance announced €685 million for the Health Service in Budget 2018. From the Budget document we see that €646 million of this increase is Current expenditure. However, when we examine what the Health Service needs just to stand still, we see the true nature of this Budget.

“The Health Service needs €129 million just to cater for demographics (i.e. population growth and ageing in 2018),  and it also needs €165 million extra to cover the cost of pay agreements, and it needs €97 million of carryover ( i.e. to cover the full year costs of measures announced this time last year). Furthermore, the Health Service also needs a Budget increase of €300 million to cover the overspend (i.e. to properly fund it for what it actually delivers). 

“So in summary the Health Service actually needs an increase of €691million next year simply to stand still.  Yet, this Government and its backers in Fianna Fáil have chosen to leave our health system short of the money that is needed to standstill and instead prioritise tax cuts.   

“In real terms they are cutting the Budget to health at a time of deep crisis.  Mark my words, our health system will be in worse shape this time next year as a consequence of the Budget before us today.   

“The Government and Fianna Fáil really need to look at themselves after this disgraceful act today. At the height of a crisis with nearly 700,000 people on hospital waiting lists and over 514 people on trolleys today alone, these measures in Budget 2018 for the Health Service will exasperate the crisis. 

“The measures in today’s budget which will see a disgraceful underfunding of the Health Service are an affront to the Irish people.”  

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