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Dublin Sinn Féin picket Private Healthcare Conference

21 March, 2007

Speaking  at  a  protest  against Health Minister Mary Harney’s hospital co-location  plan  at  the Private Healthcare Conference in Dublin today Sinn Féin Councillor Dáithí Doolan said healthcare should be a right and not a commodity for making people rich.

Councillor  Doolan  said,  “We  are  protesting  here today because this conference  is  basically  putting  a  price  tag  on  the health of our citizens.   This  has  no  place in any modern society.  Minister Harney should  be  ashamed  of  herself  for promoting a healthcare system that discriminates  against  the  poor  and  those  who cannot afford to pay. Every  man,  woman  and  child  should  have  the  right  to top quality healthcare  regardless  of the ability to pay.  Healthcare should not be used as a commodity for making people rich.

“While we are not absolutely opposed to the right of people to establish private  healthcare  facilities, we argue very strongly that they should not  be subsidised with public money and land.  Minister Harney plans to giveaway land at public hospitals along with public money in the form of massive  tax-breaks  to developers of private for-profit hospitals.  She is preparing to sign contracts with developers at the end of her term of office  and  ahead of a general election, legally tying the hands of the State  to  this  deal  regardless  of  which  parties  make  up the next Government.

“This  plan  will  see  the  two-tier  system reinforced with privileged people  guaranteed  instant access to private hospitals built with State aid on public land while public patients suffer and die on waiting lists and in queues.

“Minister Harney is this evening due to give the closing address at this conference,  which,  incidentally,  the  Health  Service  Executive is a partner  to.   We  are  here to remind her that her plan is wrong and to call on  her  to  scrap it before the contracts with the developers are signed, legally tying the State’s hands to this disastrous plan.

All Government health spending should be in the public system only with equal access for all based on need alone.” ENDS

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