[Sinn Fein]

14 March 2002

A & E Strike: MacManus Appeals to Health Minister

Former Mayor and Sinn Fein election candidate for Sligo/Leitrim Alderman Seán MacManus has joined his colleague Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín O Caolain in calling on the Minister for Health Micheal Martin to intervene to end the strike action in hospital Accident and Emergency Units.

Speaking on the morning of the strike, Ald. MacManus said:

``On the eve of threatened strike action in the A & E Units of our hospitals Sinn Fein urged the Minister's immediate intervention. Today, I reiterate that call.

``What has driven healthcare workers to this drastic action are the intolerable conditions in A & E Units. 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, of patients spending days on trolleys and staff unable to cope with the volume of emergency admissions.

``I understand that SIPTU and the INO are not taking this action for better pay, but out of concern for the people who are suffering in the A & E departments, whose plight is a scandal in a supposedly prosperous and thriving country.

``Deputy O Caolain and I have urged the Minister to immediately address the workers' concerns, and to take action to implement the necessary solutions so that the workers can end their strike, and so that patients are not subject to further hardship and danger.''

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