Members of Donegal Action Against Austerity have accused the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, of ‘running scared’ following a request submitted last week to meet him to discuss several issues affecting the county.
Among the issues on the agenda were the future of Letterkenny hospital, and the reduction in ancilliary healthcare services around the county, the unemployment crisis, family debt problems and fuel costs to name a few.
The Taoiseach will spend Monday in Donegal, with a number of engagements in the county including a visit to a school in Milford.
DAAA member Betty Holmes, a well known health service campaigner, told us: “We have a real concern about the future of our local health services, and the slow death of the health infrastructure of this county. Pat Cox at the debate on Thursday night continually referred to the country as being in ‘intensive care’, the sick patient of the EU. It was a strange comparison.
“Donegal is the ‘sick patient’ in this country, and we are being denied the medicine to cure our ills. We wanted this meeting to outline to the Taoiseach, the negative effect on health of patients, when we are forced to ferry these patients between hospitals around the country, when in the past, more cost-effective services could be carried out locally. In the pursuit of cuts and austerity within the HSE, the lives of the people in this county are being put in jeopardy, and this is not an exaggeration.”
Another leading member Ryan Stewart said today: “It’s extremely disappointing that the Taoiseach would ignore the concerns of ordinary people in Donegal. It’s not often that Mr Kenny or indeed any minister would visit Donegal, yet the only time the government seem to show their faces in Donegal, is to gain some political capital.
“It’s no surprise, given the push for the ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming referendum, that important issues are pushed to the side once again. This is an agenda to impose further cuts and austerity on to ordinary people, to pay for the sins of the elite. In 2007, the live register showed 14.5% unemployed – it is now 35%. In the wider scheme of things, today, the national unemployment figures show 14.5% unemployment country-wide, and now it is classed as a crisis. We hope people will see through this photo-op, where leading politicians take the people of Donegal for fools.”
“There are so many issues we can talk about, and we believe that the government know that worse is to come for this county and others, but the blind pursuit of austerity and ratification of the Austerity-based treaty to accommodate the banking superpowers of Europe, is taking precedence over the lives of ordinary people in our own county. This economic policy is foolish and will only accelerate the pace at which these cuts are made.”
“Now is not the time to ratify the treaty – but we can do so later. We will have to accelerate the repayment of our sovereign debt. Without any guarantee for the future of Donegal, why would we even consider voting ‘Yes’ for this treaty? We have been misled before as a country, but Donegal saw what was happening before, and voted ‘No’ and we will do the same again on May 31st. We are urging people to use their vote, it’s of critical importance. There are many people who may choose not to vote, that’s as good as a Yes vote – come out an vote ‘No’ in numbers.”