24 October 2022
By Tom Collins
The Social Democrats hosted a public meeting on Saturday 22nd in the Metropole Hotel with sessions on healthcare reform and the costs of living crisis. Prior to the event, Cork branch representatives met with local groups such as Cork Commuter Coalition, Cork Cycling Campaign and The VQ at Salvagem on MacCurtain Street.
Róisín Shortall TD is the party’s spokesperson on health and chaired the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. This committee produced the Sláintecare plan which proposes to reform and modernise the Irish healthcare system. Róisín told attendees at the event that there are over 900,000 people currently on waiting lists, saying “that’s 20% of our population on various lists. If that isn’t an indictment of the government, I don’t know what is”. Other speakers at the session included Rebecca O’Riordan (FUSS), Tom McDonnell (NERI), Dr. Angela Flynn (UCC) and Dr. Patrick Bracken.
Local Social Democrats representative Ciarán McCarthy led the session on the cost of living which included Holly Cairns TD, Elizabeth McGrath (Cork Traveler Visibility Group), Fiona Dukelow (UCC) and Don O’Leary (Cork Life Centre). This session also included Eamon Donnelly (FÓRSA) who expressed the need for community led intervention which will “reduce waiting lists and will provide better service giving people a chance to get preventative service outside the hospital campus” he emphasised that “delivering care in a primary care setting will drive down waiting lists”.
Following the event, party co-leaders, Roisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy joined a Dereliction Tour given by local urban designers Frank O’Connor and Jude Sherry to view the level of dereliction and vacant premises around Shandon and the city centre.
Calling on the local authority to address the crisis in Cork, Catherine Murphy TD said: “There is a shocking amount of dereliction. This is an endemic problem, and it is really letting the city down. I think Cork is a fantastic city. If the dereliction was dealt with, it would certainly scale it up and it would provide accommodation at the same time which is so badly needed.”