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Minister Harney approves multi-million euro robbery – Ó Caoláin

23 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader and spokesperson on Health and Children, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has denounced the decision of Minister for Health Mary Harney to approve the retention of more than €12 million of interest earned by long stay residents in nursing home and in other care facilities. Deputy Ó Caoláin has described the measure to be introduced later in the year as "robbery".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Mary Harney has, in effect, approved a multi-million euro robbery of vulnerable people. This measure will allow the HSE to retain 25% of interest earned on the accounts of nursing home patients. It is a bizarre move and it is simply incredible that Mary Harney has given it her approval.

"What financial institution would dare charge its customers 25% of interest earned? If a small fee were necessary to cover administrative costs then so be it but charges to the extent exposed this week are unacceptable.

"This is yet further proof that Mary Harney is out of control - it is clear that she has little interest in patients or users of the Health services. The most disappointing aspect of the continuing debacles within the Department of Health and Children and the HSE is that it appears that Minister Harney's cabinet colleagues in Fianna Fáil and the Green party are either unable or simply unwilling to end her reign of mismanagement. Bertie Ahern has a lot to answer for". ENDS

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