At an event in West Belfast entitled “The choices for Ireland” which was addressed by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, General Secretary of the RCN Pat Cullen made a contribution from the audience where she is reported to have said “I believe the only hope for the NHS is reunification”
The DUP MP said, “Everyone is entitled to their personal political opinions but for any senior trade union official who knows there is a range of political viewpoints among her members to enter such a controversial arena is foolhardy. The comments that Pat Cullen is reported to have made take a specific (and ludicrous) constitutional standpoint in Northern Ireland.
Both Pat Cullen and the RCN have had time to properly clarify what occurred, but neither has done so. Further comments posted online from Ms Cullen referencing cross-border initiatives appear to deliberately miss the point, whilst stating that “healthcare decisions must not become political footballs” she is highlighting the very outcome she says she wants to avoid.
The RCN represents staff from across the entire community in Northern Ireland, and it is imperative that the college clarify whether it is appropriate for their organisation to be involved in promoting a specific constitutional viewpoint in Northern Ireland.
As a unionist I will continue to promote the NHS and other significant UK-wide institutions which are of huge benefit to everyone unlike the costly health options that exist in the Irish Republic. Several days have passed since these comments were made and it continues to rumble on because the RCN and Pat Cullen have not properly clarified their position.”