NEWLY co-opted councillor Mary Cahillane, who replaces Solidarity’s Cian Prendiville in the City North district, used her first day on the job to propose a motion on the Cervical Check scandal.
Speaking at this Monday’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council, Cllr Cahillane announced herself with a bang as she hit out at Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for the privatising and outsourcing in the health service.
“A greedy, ideological decision ten years ago by Mary Harney, Health Minister in a Fianna Fáil-led coalition, has now killed 21 women in Ireland,” she declared.
“The current Fine Gael Health Minister Simon Harris and the HSE continue to sell our smear tests to private laboratories abroad. Private companies’ priorities are to make profit, not to protect women’s health. The real costs of privatisation in our health service cannot be measured in euro and cents, it costs lives.
“It is our duty to demand on behalf of people a free, publicly funded, properly resourced, democratically accountable health service that meets the needs of everyone and not just those who can afford it.”
Following the meeting, Solidarity councillor for City East, Paul Keller welcomed Ms Cahillane’s confirmation as a councillor and warned other parties that there was “more to come”.
“Mary is a trade union activist of long standing and a formidable fighter for working class people. I have been hugely impressed by her politics, energy and capability since she returned to Limerick from living and working in Belfast for many years.
“She has helped organise important protests in Limerick around the Cervical Cancer scandal and, as you can see today, she’s prepared to take that fight into the council chamber,” Cllr Keller commented.
Councillors took the opportunity to welcome Cllr Cahillane to County Hall this week.
“Your predecessor is a tough act to follow. I wish you well,” said Fine Gael councillor John Sheahan.
Also wishing her well for the remainder of the term on the Council, Fianna Fail councillor Kevin Sheahan said: “I didn’t always get on particularly well with Cllr Prendiville, but that’s politics.”
Independent councillor Brigid Teefy felt it was “nice to see another female” in the council chamber.