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Sinn Féin to mount protest against private hospital land plan

9 August, 2006

Sinn Féin will hold a protest outside University College Hospital, Cork tonight in protest at Mary Harney's plan to give public land away to private health care developers. The protest is one of a series being held nationwide against the plan. The protest will take place between 7 and 8pm.

Cllr Jonathan O Brien said: "We are calling for the scrapping of this plan which will further deepen the divide between public patients and private patients as well as enrich private medical health developers at the expense of the public health system.‰

"This plan is ideologically driven. It has no support from patients, health care workers or medical organisations. It will enrich developers by giving them public land on top of the very generous tax breaks for building private hospitals."

"Mary Harney's assertion that 1000 beds will be released is not backed up by any facts and is a smokescreen to hide her preference for private medical health care. An ICTU study estimates that the tax breaks alone to private developers will amount to 400 million euro. Sinn Féin is calling for all this money to be invested in to the public health system, which could provide nearly 2000 extra public beds. It is wrong that money provided for by taxpayers is used to make developers wealthy rather than provide an efficient and fair public health system." ENDS

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