Acting on the ongoing frustration of its members and that of the public generally, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, in collaboration with ICTU Youth Committee, has organised a march and rally “for a decent public health service”.

It takes place in the capital next Saturday, March 29, with the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square the assembly point at 3 p.m.

The Waterford Council of Trade Unions has called for support for the demonstration in defence of public health services and in opposition to further privatisation. Speakers from the trade unions, as well as health professionals, patients groups and health and hospital campaigns will address the rally.

Buses will leave The Glen in Waterford at 10 a.m. and those wishing to secure seats should contact either Marie Butler, SIPTU Waterford Branch Organiser, Connolly Hall (Tel. 051-874773), the UNITE Office, Keizer Street (Tel 051-875438), or Tom Hogan, UNITE (086-1656818).

Members of the INO, IMPACT and PNA are urged to contact their local representatives.

Reflecting the feelings of her union members on the subject, Ms. Butler said this week it was time to end the crisis in the health service which left many old people on hospital trolleys, women getting called back for cancer tests after being given the all-clear, waiting lists running into years and vital treatments beyond the pockets of needy parents. And that was despite the cystic fibrosis scandal which engendered so much publicity recently.

She quoted the late Susie Long, the Kilkenny cancer victim, who highlighted the need for people with vision like Noel Browne, who believed medicine should be for the social good and not for profit. She found it indecent that many people were driven by fear to purchase private health cover they couldn’t afford so that they could access services to which they were entitled in any event.

Ms. Butler added: “As the government continues to place the problems of the health service at the feet of workers and spin the myth that the problems can only be solved by privatization, it is left again to the trade unions to blow the whistle”.

Speakers at the rally will include: Janette Byrne, of Patients Together; Conor Macliam, husband of Susie Long; Professor John Crown, Consultant Oncologist; Peadar McMahon, Health Service Action Group, Monaghan Hospital Community Alliance; Dr. Orla Hardiman, Consultant Neurologist, Doctors Alliance for Better Health Care; Madeleine Spiers, President, Irish Nurses Organisation; Kevin Callinan, National Secretary, IMPACT; Louise O’Reilly, National Nursing Official, SIPTU; and Walter Cullen, Industrial Organiser, UNITE.