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Taoiseach has no mandate for private for-profit hospitals – Ó Caoláin

28 March, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described as "outrageous" the claim by the Taoiseach in the Dáil that the Government has "a mandate to build additional private hospitals". Deputy Ó Caoláin urged people to support Sinn Féin's protests this coming Saturday 31 March at the ten public hospital sites designated for the building of private for-profit hospitals.

He said, "It is outrageous for the Taoiseach to state as he did in the Dáil today: 'We have a mandate to build additional private hospitals…' Neither Fianna Fáil nor the PDs sought or received any such mandate from the people. Their notorious co-location scheme is not in the Programme for Government nor in the Government Health Strategy. This plan is a profit-driven initiative designed to assist investors who regard healthcare primarily as a lucrative business.

"In their 2002 General Election manifesto Fianna Fáil said they were committed to 'the end of the two-tier health system'. Now in harness with their PD partners they are reinforcing the two-tier system as never before by pouring public money into private for-profit hospitals which will be built on public land.

"Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to this co-location plan which will worsen the inefficient and inequitable two-tier system. We demand that the plan be scrapped now before any contracts are signed. It is scandalous for Fianna Fáil and the PDs to railroad a plan for which they have no mandate in the dying days of this Dáil and only a matter of a few weeks before a General Election.

"I urge people to support Sinn Féin's protests against the co-location plan at the ten hospital sites and at other venues throughout the State this coming Saturday 31 March." ENDS

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