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Sinn Féin calls on public to support health rally in Dublin

27 March, 2008

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called on the public to come out on the streets this Saturday (29th March) in support of Dublin Congress of Trade Unions’ rally for decent public health services. Speaking ahead of the march Ms. McDonald demanded that the Taoiseach and Health Minister Mary Harney accept responsibility for the failure to deliver quality healthcare to all.


Speaking from Leinster House today ahead of Saturday’s rally the Dublin MEP said:
“This Saturday thousands of doctors, nurses, hospital campaigners, political activists and members of the general public will gather in Dublin to demand what should be theirs as of right – decent public health services.
“Local hospital services throughout Ireland are being downgraded and stripped of essential services for the promise of centres of excellence that have yet to be built.
“Public patients needing tests for suspected cancer continue to face an eighteen month wait despite government promises of improvements in cancer care services.


“Hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed leading to huge waiting times in Accident and Emergency wards in particular and hundreds of public patients lie on hospital trolleys every day. This is highly inefficient and a tremendous waste of public money.
“At the root of the current healthcare crisis is the inequality of the two tier-tier public-private system. It is wrong that in this country money can buy you faster access to healthcare while an equally needy patient who cannot pay must wait months or even years.

“This government has failed in its commitment to deliver quality health care to all. It is time the Taoiseach and Minister Harney accepted responsibility for the crumbling state of this country’s health service. Both should resign so that an equitable universal health service based on need alone can finally be built and delivered.
“I urge everybody to support this Saturday’s march and rally for a decent public health system based on equality.” ENDS

Sinn Féin proposals for the delivery of a health service based on equality:

»» Investment of all health funding in the public system and the immediate ending of tax breaks for private hospitals and the notorious ‘co-location’ scheme.

»» Phased transition to full public provision, beginning with medical cards for all under 18.

»» Increase income threshold for qualification for full medical card coverage.


»» Provide promised Primary Care Centres throughout the state on an accelerated


»» End over-centralisation of hospital facilities and reverse cutbacks in key services at

local hospitals.

»» Timetabled and fully resourced strategy to deliver the additional 3,000 hospital beds required.

»» Enhanced provision of essential public nursing home beds, community care facilities and home care.

»» Remove the cap on numbers employed in the health service, with emphasis on staff providing care direct to service-users.



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