herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Harney accused of dragging heels over CF unit

Health Minister Mary Harney has "no will" to provide proper facilities for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers or she would have done it by now, Opposition parities have said.

As the tragic story of Luke Murtagh emerged, an emotional Dr James Reilly asked: "How many more young Irish people must die?" The Fine Gael health spokesperson told the Herald: "It's upsetting for anybody with a heart. And it's even more upsetting for other CF sufferers and their families to see stories like this."

He hit out at Ms Harney, whom he believes has not put enough passion into getting a new CF unit built at St Vincent's Hospital.

Contracts for the €20m unit are due to be signed next week and it is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2012.

"Young people with CF have to fight so much and don't get the help they need. Where there is a will there is a way, but clearly this Government has no will," he said.

The comments were backed up Labour's health spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan saying that they were "literally talking about the lives of young people".

She said that she finds the "vagueness" of the Minister's statements in relation to the issue "totally unacceptable".

"I would call on her to come out today and say exactly when it [the special unit] is going to be built, how long it will take and when it's going to be ready," she said.

She argued that there were already single beds available in St Vincent's Hospitals.

"There should be a system of priority for CF patients because it is a case of life and death," she said. "People have been given promises again and again and they haven't been fulfilled. I would simply ask that they be given definites."

Dr Reilly said: "I would call on the Minister to stop letting all the red tape and processes get in the way of building a new unit. This is an area we have been shouting about for so long."

kdoyle@herald.ie

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