The campaigning group Donegal Action Against Austerity accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, of “running scared”, after receiving no response to their request to meet with him during his Donegal visit today (Monday).
The group had a list of issues to raise with the taoiseach, including the future of Letterkenny General Hospital, the reduction in ancillary healthcare services around the county, Donegal’s high rate of unemployment and problems of family debt and fuel costs.
“We have a real concern about the future of our local health services, and the slow death of the health infrastructure of this county,” said Betty Holmes of Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC), a member of Donegal Action Against Austerity (DAAA).
She said that at a public meeting in Buncrana on Thursday on the European Fiscal Compact Treaty, Pat Cox referred to the country as “being in intensive care, the sick patient of the EU.
“It was a strange comparison,” she said. “Donegal is the ‘sick patient’ in this country, and we are being denied the medicine to cure our ills.”
Mrs. Holmes said DACC had considered the meeting with the taoiseach to be vital. “We have had great difficulty over the last year in getting answers to our questions and concerns at national level, both from the government and department of health,” she said.
She said the group had been led to believe on Thursday night that a meeting with the taoiseach was a possibility. But there was no further word from Joe McHugh, Fine Gael TD, who had been asked to arrange the meeting.
Ryan Stewart of Donegal Action Against Austerity said it was “extremely disappointing that the taoiseach would ignore the concerns of ordinary people in Donegal”, and added, “The only time the government seem to show their faces in Donegal, is to gain some political capital.”
He said, “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.”
“We hope people will see through this photo-op, where leading politicians take the people of Donegal for fools,” Mr. Stewart said.