Fianna Fáil’s Seanad Spokesperson on Health Senator Marc Mac Sharry has said the Government’s cynical election stunt on medical cards provides little comfort to the thousands of people who have lost their medical cards and were ignored by Fine Gael and Labour.

“The Government has spent the last two years flatly denying any cuts to discretionary medical cards, even when they were presented with appalling cases of gravely ill children being refused a card,” said Senator Mac Sharry.

“Now at the eleventh hour as they see election defeat looming, the Government parties have suddenly woken up to the widespread distress that their secret cull to discretionary medical cards has caused.  In order to save their own political skin, Fine Gael and Labour have now promised a vague ‘review’ of the very cuts that they denied existed.

“Unfortunately this will mean nothing to the thousands of gravely ill or disabled people who have lost their medical cards over the past two years and whose plight was completely ignored by the Government – children with brain tumours who had their cards taken from them, or parents put through the ringer to prove that their child still has Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. 

“People will see through this as nothing more than yet another election stunt.  It is disgraceful that it has taken Friday’s elections for the Government to realise the terrible damage that their secret cuts have caused.   What we need is an apology from the Government to those people who have been put through a terrible ordeal to keep vital support that they should be entitled to.  These people deserve a firm commitment to a dramatic change in the Government’s policy on discretionary medical cards, so that those with serious illnesses and severe disabilities are supported once again.”