Irish Republican News · April 30, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Uncertainty shrouds health services after HSE board quits

The new 26-County Health Minister Dr James Reilly has cleared out the board of the Health Service Executive (HSE), claiming the dramatic shake-up will improve services and accountability.

The 12-strong board offered to step down after Dr Reilly called for a blanket resignation in the first major move to abolish the scandal-plagued organisation.

“I see this as a hugely important part of progressing the change agenda, one for which I have to remind people we have an enormous mandate from the people for,” Dr Reilly said.

In its election manifesto, Fine Gael pledged to cut 8,000 jobs in the HSE by 2014 through a combination of voluntary redundancies and not replacing those who leave.

In the Programme for Government, agreed with coalition partners Labour, the HSE is to be scrapped.

Sinn Fein called on Dr Reilly to reverse health service cuts imposed by the previous government.

Caoimhghin O Caolain, health spokesman, said: “If the board members of the Health Service Executive resign and the cuts imposed by former Minister Harney and the HSE remain in place then this will be an empty gesture as far as patients are concerned.”

“Minister Reilly needs to set out in detail his plans for the public health services.

“Today’s gesture was an ad hoc move. We need to see the legislation on which his promised reforms will be based.”

Meanwhile, eirigi has accused the Labour Party of embracing Thatcherite politics in their approach to the privatisation of state assets and semi-state companies in the 26 Counties.

The sell-off was recommended in a report by economist Colm McCarthy to help pay the cost of the IMF/EU bailout loan.

It came as it was revealed that the 26-County public will, in addition to bearing the cost of the collapse of the state’s private banks, be forced to bear the multi-billion euro cost of the collapse of the Quinn Group.

The financial empire of Fermanagh man Sean Quinn’s insurance and other industries, and its demise is closely connected to the collapse of Anglo-Irish Bank, of which he was a major shareholder and debtor.

éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mháistir said: “It is incredible, but not entirely surprising, that a right-wing ideologue such as Colm McCarthy is proposing that the solution to the crisis of capitalism should be a further entrenchment of the very philosophy and policies that collapsed the economy and destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers in the Twenty-Six Counties.

“By supporting this proposal, the Labour Party has betrayed the tens of thousands of working people who voted for them in the recent election in the mistaken belief they would represent change.

“Instead, they have been presented with a Thatcherite plan to transfer public wealth into the hands of a wealthy elite of private investors who will strip the economy of vital publicly-owned wealth generators, slash wages and working conditions and consign thousands of workers to the dole queues.”

Mac An Mháistir added: “The only people who will benefit from the sale of state assets will be billionaire businessman such as Denis O’Brien and Tony O’Reilly. It is vital that all of us – workers, trade unions and political parties of the left – get organised to defend our public assets and resist 21st century Thatcherism.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News