Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be warned today that the deepening medical cards restriction crisis being defended by his Government is putting a boy’s “life at risk”.
The family of Ronan Woodhouse, 8, will make the claim this afternoon in letters to be handed directly to the Taoiseach and senior HSE officials following a four-hour protest march through Dublin City.
As first revealed by the Irish Examiner last month, Clare native Ronan was told earlier this year that he is no longer eligible for a discretionary medical card.
Despite being diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and 13 associated life-long medical conditions — including heart problems, sight loss, and chronic asthma — the child was told he is no longer entitled to the vital support.
After attempting to raise the issue outside Fine Gael’s ard fheis in early October, Ronan and his mother, Noreen Keane, were told by Mr Kenny that he would be happy to meet with the family.
However, six weeks on, the meeting has yet to be organised — leaving the family with no other option than to hold today’s protest march.
“Further to my protest at the Fine Gael ard fheis, where you committed to meeting with me and Ronan, I am still awaiting contact from your office,” Ms Keane’s letter to the Taoiseach reads.
“I was disgusted at the blatant untruth you told in the Dáil at leaders’ questions this week, when you told Micheál Martin that you were not aware of any such meeting request.”
It adds that the only meeting to date with anyone over the issue involved two senior HSE officials — one of whom “left after 20 minutes” — who offered Ronan a long-term illness card. This offer was made despite long-term illness cards not covering any of Ronan’s 13 medical bills, GP visits, access to consultants, audiology checks, ophthalmology, orthotics, or blood tests. Ms Keane said this situation effectively is putting her son’s “life at risk”.
The march begins at 11am today at the HSE’s primary care reimbursement service site in Finglas. It will end at 3pm at the Dáil gates.
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