TODAY, Friday, October 12, marks the fifth anniversary of the death of local woman Susie Long, who came to national attention on the Joe Duffy Show over the failure of the health service to diagnose her colon cancer in time.
Marking the date, Susie’s husband and Socialist Party representative in Carlow/Kilkenny Conor Mac Liam said he condemned the broken promises and lack of reforms within the Irish health system.
“Today, as I and my now adult children face the fifth anniversary of the death of my wife and their mother Susie Long, we still have difficulty answering her question: “Did I make a difference?’,” he said.
“Of course she has touched many people’s lives hugely, but we know she was asking about the issues she had raised regarding the two-tier health system, and the treatment of public patients in Ireland. And I have to say that progress has been painfully slow, or gone into reverse.”
Five years on, the southeast remains without a hospice. Building work has yet to start on the Day Unit promised Susie at St Lukes Hospital in Kilkenny, while a national bowel-screening programme is not yet up and running, having been postponed a number of times.
Mr MacLiam also said that it appeared the Framework Document for Palliative Care 2009-2013 had been abandoned. It identified 41 national priority actions including the need for a hospice in Kilkenny to be completed by 2013.
“I am also painfully aware that while the Government has planned to wreak destruction in the public health service by cutting its budget by more than €1bn over four years, it will, in this anniversary month alone, donate over €1.7bn to a gang of rich speculators known as bondholders,” said Mr MacLiam.
“And while Roisin Shortall identified Fine Gael’s health privatisation agenda, it is clear that the Labour Party have no intention of stopping it. This Government is intent on strengthening the two-tier model, not disposing of it.”
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said he was encouraging people to honour Susie’s memory by getting active in the struggle against austerity, and to turn out on November 24 for a pre-budget demonstration in Dubli in opposition to the cuts agenda.