4 February 1999 Edition

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Parents oppose Cowen plan

The Minister for Health and Children Brian Cowen is planning to close the Haematology Department in the newly opened Tallaght Hospital and has met with strong opposition from the parents of the 40 children with leukemia who are being treated in Tallaght.

On Monday 1 February a press conference in Dublin launched a new orgnaisation CHILD (Children's Hospital in Leukemia Drive) to the keep the Haematology Department open at Tallaght. The Minister is proposing to close the Department and transfer cancer treatment for children, including those with leukemia, to Crumlin Children's Hospital. The CHILD group says that this would be highly disruptive to the children and their parents. The department in question is only in Tallaght a matter of months, having been transferred from Harcourt Street Children's Hospital when Tallaght Hospital was established. CHILD says that yet another move makes neither medical nor economic sense.

Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín O Caoláin has written to the Minister for Health and Children Brian Cowen expressing grave concern at the closure threat. He commented:

``The threat of closure has caused real distress to people already under the immense strain of a very serious illness which requires the most painstaking care. I have urged the Minister to allow these patients to continue their treatment in the environment where they have the confidence so essential to their well-being.''

The TD's call was backed by Dublin South West Sinn Féin representative Seán Crowe.

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