Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams challenges Harney over failure to deliver a proper health service during visit to Dublin Mid West

4 May, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is in Dublin Mid West today with the party's candidate Joanne Spain to launch the party's health campaign in the constituency. During the visit Mr. Adams challenged Health Minister Mary Harney over her complete failure to deliver a proper health service where access is based on need. Despite more than a decade of economic growth the PD's privatisation agenda has ensured that this state has a grossly unequal, two tier system where those with money get preferential treatment. Mr. Adams said Sinn Féin is "demanding that the public health system is put first and that no further public finances are used to subsidise the private health business."

Mr. Adams said:

"Today in Lucan Sinn Féin launched a campaign to promote our comprehensive health policy 'Healthcare in an Ireland of Equals'. We will be taking this campaign right around the country in the coming months. Tomorrow I will be visiting hospitals in Dundalk and Navan to meet with staff and listen to their concerns first hand.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a root and branch reform of the health services on the island based on the fundamental principles that:

  • Healthcare is a right of every citizen
  • Access must be based on need alone
  • And it must be free at the point of delivery.

"We want to work with all of the stakeholders in healthcare to make this a reality.

"Successive Irish governments, and especially the current coalition, have failed to provide proper healthcare for all and now they are turning their back on public health provision. They are not listening to those working at the coalface in the health service and indeed Mary Harney‚s decision to refuse to attend the INO conference shows how much she values the contribution of nurses the length and breadth of Ireland.

"At the root of most of the major problems in our health services - and A&E is just one of them - is the fact that we have a grossly unequal, two tier, public-private system. Those who can afford it can get the best care quickly. Everyone else has to wait, sometimes for years. At the same time the government is giving massive tax breaks to developers of private hospitals and giving them public land to build on.

"Sinn Féin wants this two tier system to go. We want to see a new healthcare system for Ireland that provides care free at the point of delivery based on need alone. We want to see all health funding in the public system. We will be bringing these proposals to people in the coming months. We will make these a priority in government.

"The fact is that the economy in this part of Ireland is booming. The money and resources are available to provide a first class health service. What is required is the political will to achieve it." ENDS

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