Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal Martin Kenny has spoke in favour of the Thirty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution (Right to Health) Bill 2019, regarding healthcare as a fundamental right that should be in our constitution.
Deputy Kenny said:
“One of the founding documents of democracy was The Republic by Plato. In it, he wrote about health and justice as two of the fundamental things that any society should be able to provide for its citizens.
“The difficulty is, of course, that currently people’s experiences around the country are negative when it comes to delivering healthcare for all. A recent example only came to my notice today.
“In the Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal areas of the North West, people are waiting to see a counsellor under the primary care model and, at the moment, that waiting list is growing out of control because the budget that was in place for it has been spent and there is no budget to continue it.
“People are being referred by GPs for counselling but those referrals are not being processed. We have a major problem in that area alone but it is an example of problems in many areas.
“An example in that regard is the clip on YouTube by Leah Cull, which the Minister said he would watch, about health services.
“She lost both her brother and her father because of the failure of the mental health services in the north west.
“No Government can hide behind statistics, a lack of money or a problem with this, that or the other.
“The Government must not hide from its obligation to its citizens to provide healthcare for them.”
Deputy Kenny congratulated Deputy Michael Harty, independent, who introduced the bill and spoke against the government amendment which would delay the bill. He suggested that the aim of the amendment was to shelve this bill until after the next general election.