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Harney ducking responsibility for Health Service shambles – Ó Caoláin

21 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has accused Health Minister Mary Harney of ducking her responsibilities by referring the majority of Parliamentary Questions, tabled to her, to the HSE.

The Cavan/Monaghan TD and Sinn Féin Dáil leader said today, "Mary Harney continually refers Parliamentary Questions to the HSE and, in doing so, attempts to pass responsibility for various debacles within the Health Services to the Health Service Executive.

"Reports today show that 60% of questions tabled to the Minister last year were referred to the HSE and that the answering of these questions by the HSE falls far short of what is required.

"This is unacceptable. Minister Harney is the head of her Department and must take responsibility for the answering of Deputy's questions. She is obligated to face scrutiny and must accept responsibility for the actions of her department and for the delivery of healthcare in this state.

"Minister Harney has presided over a shambles in the Health Services. She has presided over and deepened the unequal two-tier health system. She is determined to proceed with plans to provide land at public hospitals to the developers of private for profit hospitals. She has no mandate for these proposals. Her failure to intervene directly in the nurses' dispute led to industrial action and she has, with her colleague Fianna Fáil ministers, cheer-led the plunder of critical services from a number of local hospitals, including Monaghan General Hospital.

"Minister Harney attempts to shield herself from responsibility for the crisis in A&E and other acute hospital services by passing the buck to the HSE but no-one is buying it. With Bertie Ahern she is jointly and co-equally responsible. They must be challenged. They must be stopped. It is already too late for many who have suffered and for those who have died unnecessarily." ENDS

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