McDonnell: Executive parties must take responsibility for budget consequences
“The SDLP have been very clear, the current draft Budget is flawed. The SDLP have cooperated at every stage of discussion but cooperation does not equate to subservience. Therefore I make no apology for the SDLP stance of opposition to the budget. The principle on which the SDLP amendment focuses is the need for the two major Executive parties who have voted for the draft budget to take responsibility for its consequences, something which the proposers of today’s motion have completely failed to do.
While proposing areas where the health services could cut costs, Dr McDonnell stressed the need for transparency:
The SDLP believes that the public would accept arguments for service rationalisation if they are satisfied that the alternate options deliver services of a better standard and which are still easily accessible. Therefore if, as many people fear, acute services are undergoing centralisation and provision of many services is removed from local hospitals it is imperative that patients remain informed and able to avail of necessary services within the appropriate time.