SIPTU Health workers protested outside the Public Sector Finance and Efficiency Summit held in the Croke Park conference centre, Dublin, this morning (Wednesday, 18th September) to highlight the threat to services and jobs from the creeping privatisation of the health service. Those addressing the event included leading international proponents of the privatisation of public services including “Independent Strategic Advisor” John Tizard.  Among those attending the event where leading civil servants from several government departments. Despite requests the organisers of the event had refused to allow any worker representative address the summit or participate in the panel discussions. Among those protesting outside the event was SIPTU member Beth Cunningham, a member of the household staff of Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin. She said: “Among the issues being discussed at this event is the privatisation of health services. Despite accepting changes to improve efficiencies in both the Croke Park and Haddington Road Agreements, health services and workers continue to be threatened by those seeking to make profits rather than improve services.” Tallaght Hospital porter, Broc Delaney, said: “Employers in the health service are ignoring agreements which are in place to protect services and jobs from the threat of privatisation. Although they believe they can do as they like to health services we will not give up the fight to protect them.” SIPTU Health Service Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Today’s protest was triggered by the intransigence of the organisers of the event. Despite repeated requests they refused to allow a workers’ representative address the ‘summit’ to provide balance about the efficiency of the public service. He added: “Public sector and health workers have made massive contributions in terms of cost savings and increased efficiencies while struggling to maintain a high level of service to the public. Their voices should have been heard at this event.”