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13 November 2008 Edition

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Ó Caoláin slams cancer vaccine cuts

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin






HEALTH: Morgan ejected from Dáil chamber as he accuses Harney of lying

Louth Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan was thrown out of the Dáil Chamber on Tuesday afternoon after he accused the Minister for Health Mary Harney of lying to the house when she denied in a Parliamentary Reply that she had received a copy of the report in to the circumstances of the death of Tania McCabe and her baby son at Lourde’s Hospital.
When asked by the Leas Ceann Comhairle to withdraw the accusation Deputy Morgan said, “It would be far more important that I defend my constituents from the lies of Mary Harney than to comply with the rules of the Dáil.”
He said, “The Minister for Health & Children should apologise to the House for misleading it last week when she denied in a Parliamentary Reply that she had received a copy of the report in to the circumstances surrounding the death of Tania McCabe and her baby son at Lourde’s Hospital when, in fact, as was stated by the HSE in a statement to the Loose Talk programme on LMFM radio on 7 May last, the Minister did receive a copy of the Report when it was made public.
“The Minister must explain why she denied receiving the Report; and explain why, if she did not receive the Report as she claims, she did not seek a copy of the Report.”
Speaking when he left the chamber Morgan said, “The fact the Mary Harney did not seek a copy of this report illustrates how disinterested she is in the delivery of health services. She should be removed from office immediately.”
Meanwhile the government is being widely condemned for its decision to scrap plans to provide teenage girls with a cervical cancer vaccine. Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, speaking during the Private Members Motion on the decision to axe the HPV Vaccination programme, said the money spent on tax breaks for the developers of private hospitals could have paid for the HPV Vaccination Programme several times over.
Ó Caoláin said, “Once again the Dáil has to call to account this discredited Minister for Health & Children for yet another disgraceful decision that will have a most negative impact on the health of the people. Last weekend the Minister’s party abolished itself but it’s a great pity that the anti-people policies of the PDs, so long now embraced fully by Fianna Fáil, were not abolished as well. But those policies live on in Fianna Fail and in this Government.
“The decision to cancel the HPV vaccination programme arose from an ethos and a policy which puts public health in second place to petty book-keeping and a privatisation agenda.
“The Health Information and Quality Authority has estimated the total cost of introducing the HPV vaccine at €9.7m. Allegedly to save this sum a public health programme which would have saved women’s lives is being axed by Minister Harney. Yet the Budget left intact the tax breaks for the developers of private hospitals at far greater cost. In the year 2006 alone – the latest year for which figures are available – this Government gave tax breaks worth €10.6 million to the developers of private for-profit hospitals.
“In a budget that slashed public services those tax breaks were left untouched. They could have paid for this vaccination programme several times over. Also untouched in the Budget was this Minister’s and this Government’s totally discredited private hospital co-location scheme.”


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