Alliance Councillor, Kieran McCarthy, made an impassioned plea to the members of the Forum at its weekly sitting on Friday, namely the shame of the so called savings on service and safety.
Cllr McCarthy said:
“So called savings or more accurately described as savage but backs by government on our health service has completely annihilated the NHS and we have for all to see a two tier health service to the eternal shamed this Tory Government. The latest effect is now being felt on patients of non fund holding GP’s who cannot have their surgery but are placed on a long long waiting list to suffer unnecessary pain and discomfort. This is a shame on Malcolm Moss and his government and call for the restoration of total equality to all members of our society. Mr Moss told us there is no crisis in the Health Service. Let him ask those who suffer. Another concern of Councillor McCarthy is the question of safety as it relates to public transport.
“Every year at the start of the new school term we experience a real problem of overcrowding on school buses giving rise to possible dangers to all passengers and on a grossly overcrowded bus all safety regulations are tossed overboard and undue responsibility placed on the skills of the driver. Certainly pupils from the Ards Peninsula and indeed many other parts are crammed on to a 53 seater bus which at times can well exceed the acceptable limit. One terrible example of overcrowding was related to where a 53 seater bus was so full a young pupil had to stand on the step just inside the closed door of that bus. I say, and I’m sure every member of the Forum would agree that this is totally unacceptable. Why should our young people be exposed to such dangers. Again a case putting so called savings before safety.
“Finally safety on another mode of transport. Namely the Portaferry/Strangford Ferry Service. Again, probably because of cut back in resources, passengers have expressed deep concern about their safety while using this service. Users which include many school children of this essential service on a twice daily basis do feel that safety standards on this short sea crossing, has deteriorated in recent times, and by brining these concerns to this Forum it is hoped and indeed we appeal to the Department of the Environment to ensure that every safety precaution s taken and to update their maintenance programme on a more regular basis.
“All three aspects of service and safety for our community has been put in jeopardy and we call on the relevant authorities to instigate immediate remedies namely sufficient funding to be released to avoid disaster. We call on Mr Moss to save our services.”