"Drumm remarks disgraceful and should be withdrawn" -- Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has described as "disgraceful" the remarks of the chief executive of the Health Service Executive Professor Brendan Drumm who accused people campaigning for the retention of services at Monaghan General Hospital of "scare-mongering for self-interest" and of questionable motives.
Professor Drumm's statement was made in the presence of the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney at the meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children today (Thursday). Deputy Ó Caoláin said it was "deplorable" that Minister Harney stood over the HSE chief's remarks. He stated:
"People throughout the North East region, but especially those in County Monaghan, who have been campaigning for the retention and restoration of vital services at Monaghan General Hospital, have been insulted by the remarks of Professor Brendan Drumm today. In a disgraceful statement he accused people of 'scare-mongering for self-interest' and said that their motives should be questioned. I asked Professor Drumm to withdraw these remarks and he refused to do so. What was equally deplorable was that the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney stood over the statement of the HSE Chief Executive.
"People in County Monaghan and in the North East region have been motivated by one thing and one thing only -- the health and safety of people using the healthcare services in that region. The cutting of services in Monaghan General Hospital has led directly to the deaths of patients. It has placed huge pressure on other hospitals in the region. To describe people who stand up for justice and fair play in that context as scare-mongering and acting for selfish motives is incredible.
"Professor Drumm should reconsider his refusal to revisit his statement and he should apologise to the people of County Monaghan for what he has said today."