Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has described as a ‘complete pretence’ the Government’s belated distress over its own covert cull to medical cards.

“The Government has spent two years brazenly denying any cuts to medical cards.  We raised the issue with the Health Minister, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste constantly over that period.  Even when presented with shocking cases of extremely ill children who had their medical cards taken from them, the Government continued to dismiss our concerns and claim that there had been no change in policy,” said Deputy Kelleher.

“Fine Gael and Labour shamelessly persisted with this denial even when the HSE announced targets to reduce the number of discretionary medical cards.  The result is that 30,000 discretionary cards have been taken out of the system.  We have children with brain tumours having their cards taken from them and other children being checked to see if they still have Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. 

“Now in an outrageously self-serving move, the Government has suddenly seen the light two days before polling in the local and European elections.  Fine Gael and Labour have suddenly woken up to the extreme distress that these secret cuts have caused to people with serious illnesses and disabilities right across the country.

“Having ignored the public outcry over these extremely cruel cuts, Fine Gael and Labour are now attempting to give the impression that they are finally listening on the eve of mid-term elections.  Watching this morning’s crocodile tears from Government, I am reminded of Pat Rabbitte’s comments when faced with the list of his party’s broken promises: ‘Isn’t this the sort of thing you say during election time?”