Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has described the decision by Deputies Jimmy Devins and Eamonn Scanlon to resign the Fianna Fáil party whip as breast cancer services were transferred from Sligo General Hospital as a "hollow gesture". He said it was designed to deceive people throughout the north-west in an attempt to salvage their political careers.
Both deputies resigned from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party on the eve of the transfer of these services from Sligo General Hospital to University Hospital Galway. Despite repeated calls from cancer campaigners in the region to resign from the Fianna Fáil party itself and to commit themselves to voting against the Fianna Fáil led administration, Devins and Scanlon have refused to do so.
Casey said: "Their decision to no longer abide by the party whip has nothing to do with concern for the retention of cancer services in Sligo. It is a cynical move by two politicians who are more concerned with the backlash they have endured from an extremely angry electorate over the removal of this essential service and who fear the loss of their seats in the next election."
He added: "Devins and Scanlon have been steadfast supporters of this administration. They have supported it as it set about dismantling our health service, downgrading hospitals, removing much needed services, closing wards and imposing job cuts on essential front-line staff, including nurses."
"They have supported it as it bailed out the bankers. They have supported it as it set about attacking the living standards of workers and the less well off in our society to pay for the ecomonic recession caused by the greed and failed policies of this administration and their big business cronies. They have supported it as it oversaw the give-away of billions of euro's worth of our natural resources that could have provided much needed funding for our essential public services."
"This is an attempt to hoodwink people into thinking that they no longer support the Fianna Fáil led administration. The opposite is the case. They have not resigned from Fianna Fáil. They remain members of that party. They have given no indication whatsoever that they will oppose this administration and their right-wing, anti-worker policies."
He concluded: "Their last minute decision to resign the whip as the cancer services are removed from Sligo is nothing more than a charade. Devins and Scanlon have repeatedly shown their contempt for the health and well being of people in the north-west and have consistently refused to take any action to prevent the removal of these services. They have betrayed the very people they claim to represent. They should hang their heads in shame."