[Sinn Fein]

1st July 2003

Devastating death of child points to appalling lack of facilities at Crumlin hospital

Sinn Fein TD for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the death of a young child who was awaiting a heart operation at Crumlin Children's Hospital as ``a devastating tragedy'' that ``points to an appalling lack of facilities for treating young children with heart defects in what is supposed to be the national centre for such treatment.''

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

``In addition to the nursing shortage that precipitated this particular tragedy, the Pollock Report published in February showed that there are now fewer beds in this Hospital than when it was first opened 50 years ago ? despite a ten-fold increase in patient numbers. The crisis in this hospital has been growing for a long time.

``Over the last six months I have raised the matter consistently with the Minister for Health and the Eastern Regional Health Authority, and I have been calling for the Government to implement the Pollock recommendations on an urgent basis. With deep regret, I reiterate that call today.

``This never should have happened. The Government were well aware of the crisis in this hospital, but they failed to act. Now this child's family has paid the ultimate price for the inaction. I can only hope that now the Minister for Health and Children will take immediate steps to ensure that no other family will needlessly lose a child because of a cancelled operation at this hospital.''

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