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Harney must withdraw unacceptable Hep C Bill - Ó Caoláin

28 June, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said that the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney should immediately withdraw her Bill on insurance for people infected with Hepatitis C and HIV because it is discriminatory and has been rejected by the all the groups representing infected persons and their families.                                                  

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “It is incredible that after nine years of lobbying and negotiations the Minister and her Department have attempted to ambush these vulnerable people with a Bill that introduces new conditions and restrictions never signalled in talks over that period.

“The State is duty bound to provide every assistance to people infected with very serious diseases through contaminated blood products. This includes assistance in obtaining insurance and was the supposed purpose of the Bill. Now we find that the Bill seeks to amend the original Hep C and HIV compensation legislation to impose stricter conditions which would be discriminatory. This is totally unacceptable.  

“The Tánaiste should immediately withdraw this Bill and agree to amend it to delete the discriminatory sections. Anything less will be a continuation of the bad faith shown by the Tánaiste and her Department in the publication of this Bill in its present form.” ENDS

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