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Call for support for INO protest - Nurses protest shows Harney delivers rhetoric not results

12 April, 2005

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the series of protests at hospitals by nurses beginning today demonstrates that Health Minister Mary Harney has failed to deliver on her promises of real improvements in Accident and Emergency units by this month. He called on Sinn Féin activists and members of the general public to support the Irish Nurses Organisation in their protest campaign.

He stated: "It is scandalous that once again nurses in our public hospitals have to take protest action to highlight the continuing crisis, especially in Accident and Emergency units. When Mary Harney took over the Health brief last autumn she acted as if she had been in opposition since 1997 and did not share collective responsibility for the mess in our health services. She promised real improvements in A&E but these have not happened. She has delivered rhetoric not results.

"The nurses protests come amid the continuing A&E crisis, the shortage of beds in acute hospitals and the serious shortage of nurses. Every day we hear more stories of people lying on trolleys or sitting on chairs for days on end waiting for a bed and/or treatment. We also hear of the pressures nursing staff are under to cope with poorly resourced and overcrowded facilities.

"The Irish Nurses Association has said 'Enough is Enough'. We in Sinn Féin agree. It is long past the time for real action. We believe that this Government will only sit up and listen when all of us - staff, patients, their relatives and the wider community come together to demand real results not rhetoric, including the provisions of extra beds.

"To bring real pressure to bear on the Government and the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, I would encourage all Sinn Féin activists and the general public to support the Irish Nurses Organisation in their lunchtime protests at hospitals around the country throughout the rest of this month."ENDS

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