[Sinn Fein]

9th February 1999

Adams to contact Taoiseach over Crisis at Tallaght Hospital

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP is to contact the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to ask him to intervene directly in the ongoing crisis at Tallaght hospital. This follows a meeting this evening with members of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group and the Tallaght Hospital Board. Mr. Adams was accompanied by Dublin EU candidate Seán Crowe and Mark Daly, candidate for Tallaght Central.

Mr Adams said:

``Tallaght hospital, with a catchment area of over a quarter of a million, is a vital resource for the people of this area that needs to be properly resourced. It is unacceptable that this new flagship hospital is being run down because of a lack of funding, especially after a bumper tax windfall- the largest ever recorded in this state.

``We are all aware that the hospital ran over budget in order to meet their opening deadline and that there is now a crisis regarding funding for the hospital. We know that there is now a threat to many of the childrens services at the hospital, a disgrace for an area which has the highest youth population in Western Europe. With morale in the hospital now very low and threats of job cuts there is an urgent need for the Department of Health to intercede to meet the shortfall in funding. I will be contacting the Taoiseach immediately to ask him to intervene in this crisis and maintain all services at Tallaght hospital.''

Commenting on the upcoming elections Mr. Adams said:

``Tallaght has always been an area of strong support for Sinn Fein. The Ard Fheis was held in Killenarden in 1994. The welcome and support which we received from the ordinary people of this area was very important as it was at a time when we were developing our peace strategy and others were attempting to marginalise us. We have been building since those days. In the last election the candidate, Seán Crowe, almost made a break-through and received 4,700 votes.

``We need to capitalise on this now and elect Seán Crowe for Tallaght South, Mark Daly for Tallaght Central and Eoin MacBride for Rathfarnham/Terenure. Mark is 25 and Eoin is 21 years of age which reflects the support from young people for the party. It is support from across the community and our involvement in the issues that concern this area that will ensure Sinn Fein successes next June.

``Among the issues facing this constituency are the lack of local structures. Given the population of Tallaght, a town bigger than Limerick, Sinn Fein believe that it should have its own local government structure and not be part of South Dublin County Council. This is to overcome the current democratic deficit and to allow local people to deal with the problems of their area. It would also allow Tallaght to develop as a town in its own right.

``We are also in the midst of a housing crisis with many young couples unable to pay the huge costs now involved in either renting or buying a home. The Council cannot keep up with demand and there is now a huge waiting list. We calling for land to be set aside to allow for the building of more homes, in particular mixed housing schemes. There is also the ongoing problem associated with drug abuse. Sinn Fein are continuing to work with the community and the state in a partnership way to deal with this problem.''ENDS

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