[Sinn Fein]

30th January 2002

O'Connor misses the point - story is critical of government policy not hospital

Responding to comments by Fianna Fáil's Charlie O'Connor about the content of a local Sinn Fein newsletter on health, Sinn Fein Councillor Seán Crowe said:

"Obviously Charlie O'Connor hasn't even bothered to read the newsletter properly. If he had he would have seen the comments he has attributed to me are in fact the comments of a patient of Tallaght hospital.

"The patient, Bobby Sheridan, has had first hand experience of the services provided in Tallaght hospital. Because of that he has every right to air his views in relation to his treatment.

"If Charlie had taken the time to read the article properly he would have seen that I said 'there are wonderful people working in the health service but the system is rotten'. This applies as much to Tallaght hospital as it does to any other public health services provided under this Fianna Fáil led government.

"The reality is that our health service staff have been completely demoralised by years of cutbacks and underfunding. The lenghty queues that the patient talks about in the story are a direct consequence of those cutbacks. I appreciate the very good work that is being done by all of those in the public health service and Tallaght Hospital in particular but the facts remain that this work is not as good as it should be because there aren't enough staff and resources.

"Instead of trying to score some cheap political points against me Charlie O'Connor should challenge his own colleagues response to the crisis in the health service. He should be demanding that Tallaght Hospital be provided with adequate funding and resources."

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