[Sinn Fein]

12th March 2002

A and E Strike - Eleventh hour appeal to Minister Martin

Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on the Minister for Health and Children Mícheál Martin TD to intervene to avert Wednesday's strike action in hospital Accident and Emergency units. He said:

``On the eve of threatened strike action in the Accident and Emergency Units of our hospitals I have urged the Minister's immediate intervention. Intolerable conditions in A and E Units have driven healthcare workers to this drastic point. I urged that the Minister immediately address their concerns and take action to implement the necessary solutions so that strike action may be averted and so that patients are not subject to further hardship and danger.

``This strike is a last resort, a desperate cry for help from those on the front line of the health system who know the reality of the daily crisis in A and E departments with patients spending days on trolleys and staff unable to cope with the volume of admissions. SIPTU and the INO are not taking this action for better pay but out of concern for the people who are suffering in A and E departments and whose plight is a scandal in a supposedly prosperous and thriving country.''

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