Amnesty launches right to health campaign

July 13 2011, 04:02pm


"Healthcare guaranteed? The right to health in Ireland"

The Government must guarantee that cost is not a barrier to accessing healthcare, Amnesty International Ireland said as it launched a new campaign on the right to health in Ireland.

RTÉ Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan launched a briefing document entitled "Healthcare guaranteed? The right to health in Ireland" and urged everyone in the country to back the campaign by logging on to

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:

“Everyone in Ireland has a right to health, set out in international law. This Government has the chance to deliver this right.

Poorer more likely to be sick

“People living in consistent poverty are twice as likely to have a chronic illness. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to be sick and to be unable to get the help you need.

“The current debate around healthcare reform is a once in a lifetime chance to get our healthcare system right, to ensure our human rights are protected. The commitment in the Programme for Government to base access to healthcare on need and not on income is a welcome opportunity to redesign how we care for people in this country when they get sick."

“Fixing the healthcare system is critical, but it is only the first step in ensuring that government delivers in full on the right to health.”

Mr O’Gorman pointed out that in a recession a healthcare system based on human rights would ensure that those most vulnerable get the care they need.


Amnesty International Ireland is campaigning on the right to health in Ireland. It is seeking to ensure our health system has human rights at its core, which would result in a fairer, more efficient and reliable healthcare system that protects the most vulnerable in our society.

They are seeking solutions in four key areas:

  1. Human rights must be at the core of the Government’s healthcare policy – the Government must ensure healthcare services are available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality, respecting that the right to health is of crucial important to everyone.
  2. Cost must not be a barrier to accessing healthcare – the Government must provide for an individual legal guarantee of equal access to essential healthcare.
  3. There must be greater accountability in the delivery of the right to health – Ireland should consider how legislation could be used to ensure everyone in Ireland is guaranteed healthcare.
  4. The Department of Health must adequately monitor the operation of the healthcare system to ensure people's ability to access care is not determined by their economic standing.

For more information contact Amnesty International on 01 863 8300 or visit