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Southern Regional Health Forum being turned into pointless talking shop

11 January, 2007

Sinn Féin's representative on the HSE Southern Regional Health Forum Cllr Toireasa Ní Fhearaíosa today described the Forum as a 'talking shop' that was 'all mouth and no teeth'. Cllr Ní Fhearaíosa was speaking after walking out of today's meeting of the HSE Southern Regional Health Forum in protest, saying she saw no 'merit in claiming expenses for attending a pointless talking shop'.

Cllr Ní Fhearaíosa said: "When I was appointed to the Health Service Executive' Southern Regional Health Forum, I said at the time that I was sceptical as to whether the Forum meetings would have the capacity to deliver real change for people. I feared that the Forums would be used to provide a veneer of public consultation and democratic accountability but would be much more about image than substance.

"The regrettable reality is that the Southern Forum in particular is all mouth and no teeth. The Standing Orders and the organisation of the meetings of the Forum are preventing representatives from raising serious and substantive issues, closing off debate.

"Instead of a health service that is democratically accountable to the Irish people we have one that has been handed over to highly paid bureaucrats while frontline medical staff, like the nurses at the moment, are forced to ballot for industrial action to ensure a decent wage.

"A number of my colleagues on the Southern Health Forum, from across party lines have strongly expressed similar feelings of frustration to me before the meeting today. I will be taking part in a meeting with the three other party Whips on the Forum, open to all representatives on the Forum, in February to review existing Standing Orders to make the meetings more productive but until then I do not see the merit in claiming expenses for attending a pointless talking shop."


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