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Taoiseach must ditch PD agenda to sort Health crisis

5 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused the Taoiseach of defending the two-tier health system which his party pledged to end. Having raised the issue at Leaders' Questions in the Dáil today he said the Government's health policy is now dominated by the privatisation agenda of the Progressive Democrats.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "Government health policy is now dominated by the privatisation agenda of the Progressive Democrats and is reinforcing an unequal and inefficient public-private system. There can be no justification for a situation where we are seeing cuts in health service budgets for the Midlands and North-East regions while at the same time the Government is pouring public money through tax breaks and land deals into the private health business.

"The Taoiseach defends the two-tier system your party has pledged to end. But the famous Galway Private Clinic, with its grand piano in the foyer, has cut jobs. This facility was subsidised with massive tax breaks for the developers but now there is a glut of beds and people have been laid off.

"Meanwhile in the public hospital system we do not have enough beds. This is madness. And the government plans to fund and give land to more privateers to build private hospitals on public hospital sites.

"The Taoiseach has a duty to ditch the PD agenda and fulfil his promise to provide the 3000 additional acute hospital beds we need in the public system with consultants working exclusively in that system. He must also ensure that we do not have hundreds of patients on trolleys every day yet again in the coming months.

"After nine years in government the government now has not much more than nine months to sort out the horrendous mess they have presided over in our health services before they face the electorate." ENDS

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