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Harney must go in Cowen’s first reshuffle – Ó Caoláin

25 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said Brian Cowen's first job as Taoiseach should be to sack Mary Harney as Minister for Health. Speaking from Monaghan today Deputy Ó Caoláin said Minister Harney's destruction of the health services will take years to remedy but she needs to be removed from her position before that work can begin.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "Last year, on the election of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach for the third time, I made it clear that Mary Harney was not acceptable to Sinn Féin as Minister for Health. I am saying the same again today to the Taoiseach elect Brian Cowen. His first job as Taoiseach should be to sack Mary Harney as Health Minister and to change Government health policy.

"In her reign as Minister for Health Minister Harney has gutted local hospitals and health services throughout the state with cutbacks and the infamous recruitment ban. She has sustained an unequal system, one which is based on ability to pay rather than healthcare need.

"The Minister should be replaced by someone who understands that healthcare is not a commodity to make profits but a basic human right and necessity. And government policy must change accordingly.

"The damage done to the health services under Minister Harney's reign will take years to remedy but that work cannot begin until such a time as the Minister is removed and replaced. I urge Brian Cowen to replace Minister Harney and let that very important work begin." ENDS

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