Irish Republican News · November 1, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Harney ‘has blood on her hands’

eirigi councillor Louise Minihan was arrested this [Monday] afternoon after symbolically splashing red paint over 26-County Health Minister Mary Harney.

Ms Minihan was taking part in a protest organised by fellow councillor Brid Smith at Cherry Orchard hospital in west Dublin.

The protest took place as Harney announced a redundancy scheme for the Health Service Executive (HSE) which could see up to 5,000 employees, or about one-fifth of the total staff, leave the health service.

Ms Minihan later stated she poured diluted red paint over the Minister to symbolise the blood the coalition government had on its hands.

“In one month’s time the government will introduce what can only be described as a blood budget,” said Ms Minihan.

“The cutbacks in healthcare that will be contained in that budget will result in the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the coming years.”

About 20 protesters had been locked outside the gates of the site when Ms Harney arrived – with councillor Minihan among the local representatives who greeted the Minister inside.

The peaceful picket had been staged by the Save Cherry Orchard Hospital Campaign, a respite care and full-time beds unit for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients which recently lost a 22-bed ward.

Although dripping in red paint, Harney continued with the ceremony as she marked the start of work at a Mental Health Centre, next to Cherry Orchard.

“I find that very intriguing that somebody who’s an elected politician representing the people would be involved in a protest that I believe, and so many other people believe, is not legitimate,” the minister later said.

Councillor Smith, who organised the protest, said hundreds of thousands of people across the country would support Ms Minihan’s sentiments.

“Mary Harney was clearly shocked and stunned,” said Ms Smith, of People Before Profit. “Her hair, neck, clothes and hands were covered in red paint.

“Louise was telling her she was attacking the most vulnerable in healthcare. Fair play to her. It was a very dramatic moment.”

In a statement, eirigi said: The pouring of diluted red paint on Harney’s coat symbolised the blood that she, Fianna Fail and the Green Party have on their hands. The cutbacks in healthcare that will be contained in Decembers blood budget will result in the unnecessary and avoidable deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the coming years.

“Irish citizens are literally dying to satisfy the demands of the IMF, the EU and the money markets. The wealth of this country should be used to provide a first class health service that is open to everyone and not to bail out the private banks.”

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