A letter which Fine Gael TD John Perry has sent to the Taoiseach calling on him to restore mammography services to Sligo has been denounced as “electioneering” by a member of the Save Our Cancer Services-NW (SOCS-NW) group.
“He might have fooled people once but people are not going to fall for it again”, Catriona McGoldrick told the Sligo Weekender.
She was reacting to the announcement this week by Deputy Perry that he had written to Enda Kenny pleading with him to deliver on a promise to restore mammography to Sligo Regional Hospital.
The former junior minister told the Taoiseach in his letter: “I will be taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we live up to the commitment given by the government. I hope Taoiseach that you will act on this critical issue and I hope Minister Varadkar (Minister for Health) will be decisive on this matter.”
He said that what was required in Sligo was a surveillance service that would alleviate the necessity for so many patients to travel to an already overcrowded unit in Galway. He said this would form part of an outreach service from Galway.
Mr Perry also said he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He ruled out resigning but said there were “several other steps thsat could be taken”.
However, Catriona McGoldrick said: “This is electioneering and if he thinks people are going to fall for it again he is mistaken”.
Referring to Mr Perry’s previous pledge to restore cancer services to Sligo within 100 days of the present government coming into office, she said: “People are not stupid. They are not going to fall for this again.”
She referred to a meeting which the cancer services campaigners had on December 8 with the new CEO of the West/North-West Hospital Group Tony Canavan when he confirmed that the long standing pledge to return the mammography follow-up service to Sligo Regional Hospital would not be honoured.
Ms McGoldrick said: “I don’t know where he is going with this. I was at that meeting and Tony Canavan was not for turning. We have accepted that mammography is not returning to Sligo.
“There is nothing he (John Perry) can do. Enda Kenny is not going to listen to him.”
Meanwhile, local Fianna Fail senator Marc MacSharry accused Deputy Perry of “another act of political delinquency as he undertakes to deliver from the backbenches what he couldn’t do as a minister”.
Speaking in the Seanad, he said: “Presumably he is teeing up his exit strategy from Fine Gael because when the government don’t deliver on it he probably intends to leave the party and run as an independent.”