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Government has no mandate for hospital privatisation - Ó Caoláin

10 October, 2006


Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Government has no mandate from the people for its plan to provide land at public hospital sites to developers of private for-profit hospitals. He called for the abandonment of the plan which he said was being implemented "in the dying months - and possibly weeks - of this Government but with massive long-term consequences for our health services".

He urged people to show their opposition to hospital privatisation by attending the Healthcare Rights rally in Dublin on 21 October.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Health Minister Mary Harney‚s hospital privatisation plan has no mandate from the people and should be abandoned. Minister Harney has stated that by late this month she expects proposals from developers of private hospitals bidding to build and operate hospitals at ten public hospital sites. She claims the HSE will select up to three bidders per site before final decisions are made.

"This enrichment of the private health business with access to public lands and with massive tax breaks was not in the Programme for Government nor in the 2001 Government Health Strategy nor in the election manifestos of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats. It has never been put before the people. Yet it is being implemented now in the dying months - and possibly weeks - of this FF/PD Government. It will have massive long-term consequences for our health services, reinforcing the two-tier public/private system and draining more health professionals out of the public hospital system.

"Minister Harney‚s madcap scheme should be stopped now. I urge people to support the Healthcare Rights Rally in Dublin on Saturday 21 October and to show their opposition to hospital privatisation. There is every prospect that a new Government - of whatever combination of parties - would not proceed with this plan. Money is being wasted in the meantime and the Government should cut its losses now and divert health spending to where it is really needed." ENDS

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