November 15, 2019
Cllr Mark Ward Ard Fheis speech Day 1

Speaking during the health section of the 2019 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, Sinn Féin by-election candidate for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward said;

 A chara

Is mise Cllr Mark Ward from South Dublin County Council and By-Election candidate for Dublin Mid-West

I 2005, MY life as I knew it was over. After years of being hospitalised and misdiagnosed by our health service, I was diagnosed with Multiple-Sclerosis (MS).

The initial treatment I received from the HSE was poor and the information I received on my prognosis was scant.

I was abandoned by our health system. I have managed to accept my condition and have learned to live with it. I am lucky to have the support of families and friends.

I only went public with my diagnosis last year as Mayor of South Dublin.  I decided to run the Dublin City Marathon.  I did it to raise awareness for newly diagnosed people with MS, and also to prove I could do it for myself.

I was diagnosed at the age of 31, on a walking stick by the age of 32 and left on the scrapheap by our health system at the age of 33.

I was a casualty of the chronic underinvestment by this Governments in neurology services. Decades of underinvestment has resulted in the lowest ratio of consultant neurologists per head of population in the developed world. This is just unacceptable.

I am the one out of every 5 people in our country that does not qualify for a medical card and also cannot afford private health insurance.

I was and still am on waiting lists to see a specialist to help me combat my health issues. I am not alone.

I join the 768,000 people, 86,000 of them children, waiting for hip replacements, cataract surgery, and scoliosis surgery to name a few.

And in the morning, if I became unwell, I would join the already 100,000 people who have been left waiting on a trolley in an Emergency Department.

And why is this the case – it is so because we have been subjected to utter failure by this Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and right-wing Independent Government.

For eight years now, they have failed to make any inroads in the health service.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, there are solutions, and a Sinn Féin government would deliver those solutions.

Sinn Féin would deliver significant and targeted invest in the public health system.

We value our health staff and we will pay and treat them properly, we will give staff a reason to stay, and attract more staff to the health service.

We will also introduce fully, elective surgery hospitals to help clear waiting lists.

We will reopen closed beds, build new beds and new hospitals. We will deliver more step-down facilities, increase home help hours and properly invest in primary and community care.

There is no point replacing another Fine Gael minister with another Fine Gael minister. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It’s a policy shift we need, not personnel one. I think it’s time that we replaced every single last right-wing Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TD with Republican Socialist Sinn Féin TDs.

We demand better. We deserve better, and Sinn Féin will deliver better.

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