Taoiseach out of step with needs of people - Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the Taoiseach’s promises on Health in his Ard Fheis speech, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that while Bertie Ahern spoke of “the next steps” he was “out of step” with the needs of people who are being denied the standard of public services they require.
Deputy Ó Caoláin:
“The Taoiseach has kicked off the Fianna Fáil General Election campaign with another raft of promises similar to those he made before the 2002 General Election.
“The Taoiseach speaks of ‘the next steps’ but he and his Government are out of step with the needs of the people who are being denied the standards of public services they require. They want to see their taxes being used to provide the world class health service so long promised but never delivered.
“On Health once again the Taoiseach recycled the promise of a network of primary care teams – a promise first made in the Government Health Strategy of 2001 but which they have failed to deliver. He promised to increase hospital beds by 1,500 – 1,500 fewer than the promise in the 2001 Health Strategy. He made no reference to his Government’s plan to allocate public land and public money to the developers of private for-profit hospitals on public hospital sites.
“The Taoiseach has no credibility when he claims that the number of people waiting in A&E has almost halved. The highest daily figure for numbers in A&E for February 2007 was only two short of the highest daily figure for February 2006.
“The public will not be conned by the Taoiseach’s totally unconvincing attempt to rescue the Government’s disastrous record on our Health services.
“He is also promising to ‘cut taxes for all’. Does this include some of those with the very highest incomes who pay little or no tax at all? The burden on lower and middle income earners does indeed need to be reduced but in Government Fianna Fáil has presided over rising costs for these workers and their families including rising user fees and service charges for the likes of health and local authority services, increased ESB bills and more to come as they break up the ESB. The Taoiseach has already rowed back on the commitment of his Finance Minister Brian Cowen not to indulge in auction politics in relation to taxation.”ENDS