24 January 2008 Edition

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Crowe to contest 2009 local elections

SEÁN CROWE, the former TD for Dublin South-West, has announced that he is to stand in the 26-County local government elections in 2009.
The long-standing republican made the announcement on Thursday, 17 January, in Tallaght where he addressed a packed meeting of supporters and Sinn Féin members.
At the meeting in Killinarden, Crowe said he is looking forward to the new challenge and is confident, despite last year’s general election setback, that the party will increase its representation on South Dublin County Council.
Speaking to An Phoblacht this week, Seán Crowe said the disappointing results from the last election should act as a wake-up call to Sinn Féin activists in Dublin. He said Sinn Féin should use the results as an opportunity to reinvigorate the party and its supporters right across Dublin City and County.
“Sinn Féin doesn’t need to reinvent itself, ditch or create new policies or change our national demands,” he said. “We need to do what we do best: become more focused in our work and activities and give real leadership on the issues that are dragging down the quality of life of the communities we represent.”
He said that everyone has moved on from the general election and that the work of Sinn Féin is ongoing in Dublin South-West, particularly in relation to a number of campaigns.
Last week’s meeting reaffirmed Sinn Féin’s commitment to the area and commitments were given on the night by people to work for the party. A local news-sheet is being produced and structures were set up for people to tie in with party work locally.
“As I said at the meeting, I got involved in republican politics 30-odd years ago. Other people in the room last Thursday got involved at various stages. All the reasons that we all got involved are still there,” Seán Crowe said.
He said pressing issues in the area include the failure of the local authority to learn from past mistakes, including housing, transport and public services in general.
“We still have a huge drugs problem that is not highlighted,” said Crowe and he said that the cocaine problem is particularly acute. The issue of community safety and a Garda presence sufficient to cover an area with a vast population are of major concern to people locally. Another huge issue is Tallaght Hospital.
“It seems like every day a new scandal and usually a negative story unfolds about our hospital. Tallaght Hospital is only open 10 years but during that time its casualty wards have become the busiest in the state, dealing with approximately 78,000 attendances last year,” Crowe said.
He said a lack of resources  resulted in people on trolleys in Accident & Emergency and day wards:  51 people were on trolleys on Friday 11 January and 12 in a day ward.
“The ban on the recruitment of new staff means that the hospital is now short of a locum to anaesthetise patients, which has led to an increased delay in elective surgery for hips, knees and backs. Already a number of surgeons working in Tallaght Hospital have been adversely affected, resulting in cancellations and longer waiting times for vital, life-changing operations.”
Crowe said that the delay in delivering ECGs for heart patients also means there is currently a two-year waiting list. The cardiac unit has had to cut back half of its procedures over the last few months.
“These latest developments combined with the government plans to move the Children’s Hospital from Tallaght to the Mater Hospital will drastically cut options for parents with a sick child.
“The ‘Urgent Care Unit’ that will replace the Children’s Hospital will not have overnight beds and will only treat minor ailments. Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin is also due to close as part of this badly-worked-out plan. This present strategy if followed through by Government and the HSE will be disastrous for sick children and will mean no overnight beds for children on the southside of Dublin.
“Sinn Féin in Dublin South-West will be using this period in the run-up to the local elections to bring about change. We have to inform the electorate and organise against these cuts and the downgrading of this vital resource.
“I am publicly committing myself tonight to work in the weeks, months ahead and years if necessary to reverse these cuts in services. It is vital to the future quality of life of the people of this area that services at Tallaght are maintained and enhanced.”

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