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Sinn Féin will oppose use of public money to buy private hospitals

30 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has today slammed the decision by the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin to attempt to build private hospitals with public money.

Mr Ó Caoláin was speaking from Mullaghbawn in South Armagh, where Sinn Féin TD‚s are meeting with Party President Gerry Adams MP as part of the ongoing review being conducted by the party into future participation in the Hain Assembly. He made his comments after it emerged that the Mater has submitted a tender to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for the development of private hospitals in four separate locations in the 26 Counties.

Speaking from Mullaghbawn Mr Ó Caoláin said:

"The revelation that the Mater Hospital is seeking to build four new private hospitals will not surprise many people. In fact, this current government is obsessed with promoting the privatization agenda, to mask its massive failures in delivering an adequate health system to the people of this state.

"In effect, the Mater's tender submission to the Health Service Executive (HSE) will lead to money from the public purse being used to fund this venture and can only serve to increase the inequality which exists within the health services in this state. Essentially, government views private hospitals as a means to cut back on its funding of public hospitals.

"Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to the rampant privatization agenda currently advocated by this government and best extolled by the right wing PD agenda of Mary Harney and her colleagues. There are enough issues to be dealt with in the health system without further compounding them. Spiraling waiting lists, loss of essential regional services and full medical cards are the issues which should be focused on rather than lining the pockets of developers and those who maintain such hospitals." ENDS

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