Updated: 13/07/17 : 04:12:14
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Mac Sharry -- 'west treated as if it left Europe'

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT feels that the north west voted to leave the European Union and, indeed, left the Republic of Ireland.

Rather, Sligo TD Marc Mac Sharry said that is how it feels to him when he sees this area omitted in Government responses.

Thirty percent of Ireland's landmass was in the north west and it has a population of 300,000, MacSharry told the Dáil yesterday.

Cast Aside

 ''Yet again and as usual,'' said Mac Sharry, ''that corner of the country has been cast aside. That is not acceptable.

''It is nothing personal but I am afraid the prepared reply given to the Minister of State is insufficient in the extreme.''

MacSharry was speaking during a debate on juveniles with arthritis in the Dáil yesterday, Wednesday.

He noted specific cases in Sligo of children who could use greater levels of State assistance. See link below.

Nationwide, children ''in chronic pain'' are on waiting lists of up to two years, said Deputy Mac Sharry.

Six Needed

The country had just 2.5 consultants assisting these children, he noted.

But it needed six consultants -- in line with best international practice -- Deputy MacSharry urged during the debate yesterday afternoon.p

Junior Minister Jim Daly read a reply which Mac Sharry said was ''really insulting, whoever wrote it.'' See link below.

Said Minister Daly: ''It is proposed that rheumatology consultants will provide outreach clinics to Cork, Galway and Limerick, providing greater local access to services for patients outside the Dublin area.''

Leadership Campaign

In robust exchanges yesterday MacSharry claimed one meeting with him fell through because Health Minister Simon Harris was tied up in Fine Gael's recent leadership duel.

That meeting ''had to be cancelled at short notice as a result of the demands of the leadership campaign that was under way within Fine Gael at the time,'' claimed MacSharry.

Ten Years

He was also dismissive of suggestions that those with juvenile arthritis could avail of services in the new children's hospital.

Said Mac Sharry: ''The Minister of State mentioned the new children's hospital. 

''For God's sake, when will that be built? We really do not know. The project is ten years in the making so far. 

''These sick children will be adults by the time it is built and the effects of not being seen in a timely fashion will have crystallised, so that is not acceptable,'' the Dáil heard.

Link: Dáil debate pages 42 and 43.