25 July 2002 Edition

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Protest against Minister Martin's health cuts

Dublin Sinn Féin has organised a protest against the latest cuts and cost rises imposed by Health Minister Mícheal Martin. The protest will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 31 July outside the Department of Health and Children, Hawkins House, off Burgh Quay in Dublin.

From the following day, 1 August, more than one million people face a 22% rise in what they must pay for prescribed medicines in a month before they become entitled to a refund. Currently, people who have no medical card or who are not entitled to free medicines under the Long Term Illness Scheme, pay a maximum of €53.33 a month on prescribed medication. That threshold will increase to €65 from 1 August.

The cost of visiting a casualty department without a letter from a family doctor is to rise by 26% to €40 from 1 August. Minister Martin has also approved a massive 18% rise in VHI rates.

Urging a large turnout on 31 July, Dublin Sinn Féin Cathaoirleach Daithí Doolan said the party would be "campaigning vigorously against the forthcoming programme of public service cuts which the government is planning to impose".

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