Gerry Adams denies hypocrisy over private US medical treatment
SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams has denied that it was hypocritical for him to pay for private medical treatment in the US, despite criticising private healthcare here and in the North.
The Louth TD had a "surgical procedure" for a non-cancerous prostate problem in New York last summer. Sinn Fein has said that the procedure was a success.
Mr Adams denied that his actions were hypocritical, given his previous criticisms of the "privatisation" of the health service here. He said it was not always possible for citizens to get the type of treatment they required in Ireland.
"It's a private decision by me. That's my business. And those who attack me on that are engaging absolutely in hypocrisy and opportunism'" he said.
Mr Adams had been criticised by politicians on both sides of the Border, with an SDLP assembly member, as well as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail politicians, saying his actions are at odds with Sinn Fein policy. The details of his trip were included in official documents filed with the US Government by Friends of Sinn Fein - the party's US support group which paid for Mr Adams' flights.
Mr Adams said he was not making any apologies for going to New York for the procedure, which involved laser treatment.
"I'm very, very thankful that I was able to get the treatment, my family are thankful that I was able to get the treatment and you will be glad to hear that I am well on the way to recovery," he said.
The Sinn Fein leader was speaking in the Teacher's Club in Dublin to outline his party's strategy for the return of the Dail tomorrow. Mr Adams said the party would be preparing its own bill to repeal the property tax, saying it was a "tax too far" on citizens.
But he rejected the possibility of Sinn Fein repealing the property tax in the North where it is in Government.
"There is no property tax element in the North. There's a system of local rating. That's not the same type of creature at all. People aren't paying tolls, people aren't paying to have their bins emptied, people aren't being paid to have their water supplied, people are getting free school books for their children," he said.
But the official Government website in the North clearly defines domestic rates as "a property tax based on the valuation of your home and is used to fund both local and regional services in Northern Ireland".