Friday, March 20, 2009

Cancer vaccinations for teens axed

Councillor Shane O Connor and North Clondalkin local election candidate Matthew McDonagh have called on the Government and in particular Health Minister Mary Harney to reverse their appalling decision regarding the provision of the cervical cancer vaccine for all young women.The vaccine was to be offered to all 12-year-old girls in primary schools from next September, at an estimated cost of under €10m. The government is being widely condemned for its decision to scrap plans to provide teenage girls with a cervical cancer vaccine. Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, speaking during the Private Members Motion on the decision to axe the HPV Vaccination programme, said the money spent on tax breaks for the developers of private hospitals could have paid for the HPV Vaccination Programme several times over.Ó Caoláin said, “Once again the Dáil has to call to account this discredited Minister for Health & Children for yet another disgraceful decision that will have a most negative impact on the health of the people. Last weekend the Minister’s party abolished itself but it’s a great pity that the anti-people policies of the PDs, so long now embraced fully by Fianna Fáil, were not abolished as well. But those policies live on in Fianna Fail and in this Government.“The decision to cancel the HPV vaccination programme arose from an ethos and a policy which puts public health in second place to petty book-keeping and a privatisation agenda.“The Health Information and Quality Authority has estimated the total cost of introducing the HPV vaccine at €9.7m. Allegedly to save this sum a public health programme which would have saved women’s lives is being axed by Minister Harney. Yet the Budget left intact the tax breaks for the developers of private hospitals at far greater cost. In the year 2006 alone – the latest year for which figures are available – this Government gave tax breaks worth €10.6 million to the developers of private for-profit hospitals.
Both Councillor Shane O'Connor and Matthew McDonagh believe that it is time for Minister Harney to do the honourable thing and resign.

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