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The whole Fianna Fáil/PD Government should resign and call a General Election - Ó Caoláin

7 September, 2006

Responding to the resignation of Mary Harney as leader of the Progressive Democrats, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Fianna Fáil/PD Government is "at the end of the line and the whole lot of them should now resign and call a General Election".

He said, "As far as the vast majority of people are concerned Mary Harney's leadership of the PDs was an irrelevant. Relevant to every citizen is the crisis in our health services over which she has presided as Minister for Health and Children. Her stewardship of our Health Services has been appalling as was that of her predecessors in the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats Coalition since 1997.

"In Government the PDs have been given free rein by their Fianna Fáil partners to pursue their right-wing policies. This has included Mary Harney's hospital privatisation which will reinforce the grossly unfair two-tier public-private system in our hospital services. The Fianna Fáil/PD Government has failed dismally to effectively address the health service crisis, has failed to ensure the provision of housing for those who need it most and has deepened inequality in our society and economy.

"Mary Harney's departure as leader of the PDs comes on the day when the axe has finally fallen on most of the remaining services in Monaghan General Hospital. It will effectively no longer be a hospital. That will be the abiding memory of Mary Harney for the people of this constituency and the Government's betrayal of the people's trust is replicated throughout our health services.

"The Government is in disarray. This week we had Finance Minister Brian Cowen issuing an ultimatum to the Health Service Executive not to reduce services at Roscommon General Hospital. There was no such ministerial intervention here in County Monaghan and Fianna Fáil TDs and councillors have remained equally silent in the face of their Government's effective destruction of Monaghan General Hospital. Like the Government itself, their commitments have proved worthless. Their threats to act against their party interest if Monaghan General Hospital was threatened have proved to be hollow.

"This Government is at the end of the line and the whole lot of them should now resign and call a General Election. Sinn Féin is up for the challenge." ENDS

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