Arrest After Harney Sprayed With Paint

A woman in her late 20s has been arrested after the Minister for Health Mary Harney was sprayed with paint in Dublin.

The incident took place as Ms Harney was attending a turning the sod event at the site of a new health centre beside the Cherry Orchard Hospital in Ballyfermot.

As angry protesters assembled carrying placards saying "bail out our hospitals, not the banks" one threw a bottle containing red paint splattered the TD across the neck, hands and clothes.

However, Ms Harney continued with the turning-of-the-sod ceremony despite being covered in red paint at the new Ballyfermot Primary Care and Mental Health Centre.

A Garda spokesman said a woman was arrested on suspicion of assault on Ms Harney in the grounds of Cherry Orchard Hospital at about 10.30am.

She was being detained in Ballyfermot Garda Station for questioning.

There has been growing resentment over plans to make healthcare cuts, which have been exacerbated by the recent closure of facilities in Navan Hospital.

This morning, Fine Gael Meath TDs Damien English and Shane McEntee accused Minister Noel Dempsey of trying to undermine a march to save the hospital.

The two Meath TDs said that during an interview with Mr Dempsey on local LMFM radio on Friday the Minister claimed the closure was being addressed at Oireachtas level, which, they claim, was an attempt by the Minister to persuade people not to voice their protest.

TD Damien English said: "Minister Dempsey claimed that the future of services at Navan Hospital will be dealt with by the Oireachtas Health Committee, and that he will be raising the matter with Mary Harney. This is a complete red herring.

"The Government has a majority on the Health Committee and will make sure that nothing comes of any discussion on the matter. And as for raising the matter with Mary Harney – she knows exactly what is going on in Navan."


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