Spain challenges Mary Harney's pro-privatisation health policy
Dublin Sinn Féin party representatives and activists today took to the streets throughout the city demanding an end to the government's two-tier health system. Today's actions were part of the party's 'Health for All' campaign which was launched yesterday at Leinster House.
Speaking at a picket outside Mary Harney's constituency office in Clondalkin village today Dublin Mid West general election candidate Joanne Spain said, "In the first three months of 2007 the average number of people on trolleys per day in A&E units was 300. Despite the urgent need to provide extra beds in public hospitals evidenced in these statistics the government remains intent on closing deals by mid April with private developers to build eight private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals.
"Ireland urgently needs universally accessible healthcare delivered on the basis of need alone.
"Sinn Féin believes properly equipped hospitals, care centres and step down facilities to ease the pressure on A&E wards and the provision acute bed facilities is absolutely essential. The government could have delivered this but didn't because it is committed to privatisation, hence its policy of public private hospital co-location.
"Sinn Féin's health priorities for government will include investing all health funding in the public system, ending immediately tax breaks for private hospitals and the land allocation scheme. We will also seek to provide medical cards for all under eighteen which according to the governments own figures would cost just €223 million per annum. We believe this is a feasible and worthy objective in the context of the government's annual health budget of €16 billion. Provision of a timetabled and fully resourced strategy to deliver the additional 3,000 public hospital beds will be a central priority."
Ms Spain concluded "I look forward to challenging my general election opponent Mary Harney on her pro-privatisation of public service policies on the doorsteps of Dublin Mid West over the next two months. My party colleagues and I will be advocating a health service free at the point of delivery on the basis of need alone funded from general, fair and progressive taxation. Others promise public services, Sinn Féin will deliver them."