Councillor Cara McShane has expressed her disappointment that people with an ‘anti-SF agenda would use the proposed closure of the Dalriada hospital as a means to pursue that platform’.
The criticisms was raised following a number of posters and flyers appearing around Ballycastle pointing the finger for the proposed closure at Sinn Fein and in particular councillor Cara McShane.
In a letter to the Times, one Ballycastle resident (name and address supplied) hit out at the individuals for simply ‘stirring division’.
She explained: ‘I would like to express my absolute disgust with those persons in Ballycastle who are ‘stirring division’ into what has successfully been a ‘broad church of political and religious active opposition’ to the proposed closure of our local MS Centre and Dalriada Hospital.
‘Spur of the moment rally’s (Halloween night), White Line pickets, fundraising event fully supported by local community, schools and councillors.
‘Then last week, in the dark of night, cheap posters and flyers appeared around the town pointing the finger of blame for his proposed closure at Sinn Fein and in particular their female councillor Cara McShane. An absolute disgrace but worse still exposes the narrow-minded outlook of these individuals as they watched Sinn Fein activists and others work together on this campaign.
‘This campaign needs to stay unified, Cllr Cara McShane was the only person mentioned by Minister Jim Wells as to be ‘like a stalker’ haranguing him on this life threatening issue, no mention of pressure being put on the minister by anyone from the ‘Gang’ with their 70’s viewpoint of a socialist society who sit and ‘snipe’ from the sidelines..oh we’d have done this or we’d have done that’ (but off course they didn’t, unless they were in the spotlight).
‘I like others accept that Sinn Fein and the DUP have agreed a budget which has ‘inevitable cuts’ due to low economic situation...but I also remember that the majority of voters in this state voted for Sinn Fein and DUP entrusting their management of the system they inherited.
‘It’s important to maintain a broad front and win this fight not for any politicians but for the MS suffers and others who will need this hospital.
‘In closing I wonder what would the political dinosaurs like the ‘Gang’ do, if they had a week budget to manage?’
Agreeing with the comments, Sinn Féin Councillor, Cara McShane, said she is disappointed that people with an anti-SF agenda would use the proposed closure of the Dalriada hospital as a means to pursue that platform.
She continued: “The Save the Dalriada hospital campaign has not only been cross party and encompassing of the entire community, it has been one of the most invigorating campaigns that I’ve seen across this entire island.
“Not only are the amateur posters that appeared in Ballycastle last week anti me personally and anti SF, the message on the posters is completely at odds with the truth and with reality.
“Firstly, Sinn Féin does not hold the health ministerial brief. In fact, SF has supported the ring fencing of the health budget, despite the year on year reduction of the block grant from Westminster, and just recently supported £200million additional going into the health budget at the last monitoring round.
“Whether it’s me in Ballycastle or Sinn Féin in the Assembly, we will always work to ensure vital services are retained within the community.
“But let’s not any of us be fooled. Regardless of austere times, the dogs on the street know that the Health Trust has been trying to close the Dalriada for decades.
“This is the time we need to be united and stand together against the bully boy tactics of faceless bureaucrats - rather than looking for another cheap tactic for political point-scoring.”