Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to meet with those who have had their Versatis patches withdrawn and explain to them why he thinks they deserve to live in pain.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking after meeting with members of the Patch Us Back Up group in Cork last night.
“Neither Taoiseach Leo Varadkar nor Health Minister Simon Harris have been able to give people an adequate explanation as to why these patches have been withdrawn,” she said.
“The concern that they may be addictive simply does not stand up to scrutiny. There is no agreed scientific research making such a claim and lots of experts saying otherwise.
“Not to mention the fact that these patches can be purchased over the counter in several other countries at a much, much cheaper cost than they are available here.
“It’s quite clear that this is a cost cutting measure and a particularly cruel one at that, even by the standards of this Government which has made callousness the theme of its time in office.
“These patches are not a luxury item for those who need them, they merely make every day life bearable. They are for those in constant or chronic pain, people who would otherwise not be able to do all the ordinary things we take for granted every day, people for whom the removal of these patches has been tantamount to a prison sentence.
“As well the loss of jobs, opportunities, a social life or even basic mobility, we have not even gotten into the issue of the hugely damaging effect being in constant pain can have on your mental health.
“How many times have we seen this government actively aid huge corporations in avoiding tax, or turn a blind eye to the antics of banks or billionaires and yet when they need to save a few euros the axe always comes down on those least able to defend themselves.”
“This has got to be among the lowest acts in a long list of ignoble acts from this Fine Gael/Fianna Fail coalition. The people must stand up and draw the line here because if this government is willing to condemn people to constant pain to help balance the books there is no telling who they’ll target next.
“I will certainly be raising this issue in Europe to see if there is anything can be done from an EU standpoint to pressure these pain peddlers into giving people their lives back.”