A GROUP of 'grassroots' members of the Labour Party will meet in Dublin this week to discuss securing the resignation of Minister for Health, James Reilly, in the wake of the row over his role in the primary care controversy.
The Campaign for Labour Policies, the grassroots organisation of Labour Party members, will meet in the Teachers Club, Dublin, on Wednesday, October 10, to discuss the progress of the reform of the healthcare system. Among the items which will be discussed at the meeting is the decision of Roísín Shorthall TD to resign her position as a Junior Minister in the Department of Health and 'what action must be taken to ensure the full implementation of the primary healthcare and alcohol misuse strategies, as well as the wider threat to the health service from creeping privatisation'. The meeting, which is open to all members of the Labour Party, will also discuss 'what action can be taken to bring about the resignation of Minister of Health, James Reilly, whose approach to healthcare provision is completely incompatible with Labour values'. The Campaign for Labour Policies spokesperson, Neil Warner, said: ' The principles that underpin Labour members involvement in politics do not allow them to stand by and allow the further destruction of our Heath Services by profiteers and stroke pulling politicians. 'James Reilly has not accounted properly for his decision to interfere with the priority list for primary health care centres; indeed his 'explanations' have made a mockery of the Government and insulted the intelligence of the public. If he will not go, he must be forced out by the Labour Party.' He added: ' The battle lines have been drawn between those who wish to see a privatised, for profit health service, where vested interests hold sway, and the majority who seek the development of an egalitarian and community based alternative. The Programme for Government clearly outlines that the development of the latter system is the desired aim of this Government and must be prioritised.' Mr. Warner said: 'We believe that claims that all improvement in Irish society must be side-lined until the 'economic crisis' is over are both illogical and debase the value of political involvement.' The campaign will also launch an online petition calling on the Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, to take action to 'ensure the resignation of James Reilly as Minister for Health, ensure the full implementation of the primary healthcare and alcohol misuse strategies as set down by Roisin Shortall and block any attempts to further privatise the healthcare system'.