independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

Medical cards for cancer patients

Published 17/07/2013 | 05:36

Sir, In an overall societal sense this Government crossed the line of deceny a long time ago.

However, I would imagine that Minister James Reilly's move to rob medical cards from non-terminal cancer sufferers will enrage anybody who has ever witnessed a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis, deal with the pyschological fallout of that news, suffer from the disease every day and then see them fighting to preserve their sense of self as they balance on the threshold.

Yes, there are varying levels of "seriousness" but that is not an acceptable rationale for starting discretionary medical card support at terminal stage. Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most daunting things that a person will ever have to face and the least that one could expect is that the state should have their back. It can be such a dehumanising experience for people.

If only politicians showed a similar level of disdain for corrupt bankers and toxic financial institutions. The message from the Irish Government seems clear - if you are an arrogant, wealthy banking executive, who swindled the people out of billions, leading to the loss of our economic sovereignty, then you will be supported to the hilt. However, if you are an ordinary citizen, living with cancer, then we just might have to remove our support.

This Government may have an electoral mandate but they no longer have a moral authority to govern the country. They support corrupt bankers, persecute cancer patients and then call it "fiscal conservativism" as if the use of such terminology somehow legitimises a philosophical perspective in which the social and economic marginalisation of ordinary people is central.

People really need to start asking where their local Government TDs stand on such heartless moves. These individuals should not be allowed hide in the background when such heartless cuts are made. They will no doubt respond with meaningless phrases like "I am confident that provisions will be made for people..". However, definitions of these provisions will be scare and then just try being a patient trying to access these provisions - because in practice they won't exist. Many TDs will have no problem making sure that they are at high-exposure Hospice and Irish Cancer Society functions. However, even though they may support these charities in a personal capacity, this is negated when, as legislators, they act against the welfare of cancer patients.

Sincerely,

Darren O'Keeffe,

Leesdale,

Model Farm Rd,

Cork.

Kerryman

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