Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams during Leaders Questions in the Dáil raised the issue of the adverse impact the government’s health cuts are having on Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and Louth County Hospital.
The Sinn Féin leader was challenging the Taoiseach on the recent announcement of cuts in the health service and the planned budget cuts which are expected to be in the region of €700 million.
Mr. Adams criticised the government’s plan to take away support from citizens with disabilities, including personal assistant hours.
The local TD said: ‘Citizens with disabilities have rights and those disabled citizens and carers who picketed the cabinet meeting and camped out overnight are to be commended. They forced the government to u-turn but it still intends to proceed with cuts on home help hours and home care packages.
“The reductions in agency staff and overtime will also throw our hospitals into even greater chaos. For hospitals across this state, including in my own constituency in Drogheda and Dundalk, it will mean bed closures, ward closures, patients on trolley’s and the undermining of essential services like oncology and gynaecology. It’s a scandal.
“The government is making wrong choices. Most of them are also in direct breach of your election commitments.
“In the leaders debate in February 2011 the Tánaiste said: ‘The first issue Labour will address in Government, in terms of equality and decent supports to people, would be the issue of disability’.
“The Taoiseach agreed with that and said it would be an absolute priority. The governments actions have been entirely at odds with this commitment.
“At the same time while cutting services to the elderly and those with disabilities the government is kow-towing to vested interests in the financial sector and the EU. Next month unguaranteed bondholders will receive another one billion euros.
The government has expressed confidence in Minister Reilly. That’s hardly surprising. But those who use the health service and who work in it do not share that confidence. With more cuts planned for December it is long past time for Minister Reilly to go and for the government to u-turn on its disastrous health policy.”