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Harney’s bullish comments unhelpful – Ó Snodaigh

18 April, 2007

Speaking from St. James Hospital today, where nurses have begun a one hour work stoppage, Sinn Féin Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh again called on Health Minister Mary Harney to intervene in the nurses' dispute. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said negative comments from the Minister in this morning's media are extremely disappointing.

Speaking at the hospital Deputy Ó Snodaigh said "The Minister for Health must accept the need for a 35 hour working week for nurses and ensure that this demand is met by health service employers. The overwhelming support for this work to rule by the INO and the PNA has shown the unity of the nurses behind their calls.

"This week's industrial action by the nurses has not come about all of a sudden and is not their preferred option. The nurses have consistently said they want to remain with their patients but the Taoiseach and Minister Harney have left them with no option but to stage further walk outs as seen today at St. James. It is an indictment on this Government that they have had to resort to this form of action."

Commenting on remarks made by Minister Harney in today's press Deputy Ó Snodaigh said "It is extremely disappointing that the Minister feels it appropriate to state in the national media that she sees no possibility of talks being resumed at the moment. Dialogue is critical for both patients and hospital workers. Bullish speak from the Minister at this time will only result in an impasse between her department and the nurses unions and will undermine public confidence in the health service."

"Patients and nurses are at the front line of the health service yet as illustrated by Ministers Harney's statements to date the government continues to treat both with contempt. In government Sinn Féin will deliver a public health system for that provides care to all free at the point of delivery, on the basis of need alone, and funded from general fair and progressive taxation." CRÍOCH

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