7 October 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

More strong criticism of Fine Gael’s failure to deliver on promises in relation to Monaghan General Hospital was heard at Monday’s meeting of Monaghan Co Council when members debated at length Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil urgent business motions calling on Health Minister James Reilly to reverse the HSE decision to cut the hours of operation of the hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit from November 1.
But the meeting also heard a powerful plea for political unity on the hospital issue from FG’s Ciara McPhillips, who told her colleagues: “No one in this room wants to see Monaghan General Hospital downgraded, so can we stop arguing and stand up together?”
Colr McPhillips also called on the political parties “to stop saying Monaghan Hospital is closing, because people will stop using the facilities and the HSE will make this an excuse to take away more services.”
The FF urgent business motion proposed, “That Monaghan Co Council calls for an urgent meeting with Minister for Health James Reilly to seek a reversal of the proposed reduction in hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Monaghan General Hospital, and calls on the two Government TDs, Deputies Sean Conlan and Heather Humphreys, to assist in this regard.”
The SF proposal was, “We propose a motion of urgent business to discuss the proposed reduction in the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit at Monaghan General Hospital.
“That this Council calls upon the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to personally intervene in this matter to ensure that the present opening hours at this unit are retained.”
Moving the FF motion, Robbie Gallagher said that unfortunately the HSE had announced that the Minor Injury Unit at the hospital was to have its hours reduced from November 1 from 9 am to 5 pm and would only operate from Monday to Friday, which was a reduction from 84 hours to 50. There was still a window of opportunity to lobby to get the decision reversed. The FF motion was seeking the support of the two Co Monaghan FG Deputies Conlan and Humphreys to secure a meeting with the Minister as soon as possible.
Colr Gallagher said he didn’t doubt the bona fides of any individual within the chamber on the services at Monaghan Hospital. However, the FG party had “serious questions to answer” on this particular issue. They had always been sharply critical of the previous Government when they were in Opposition.
Dr Reilly and the FG leadership had given indications, and inflated expectations in the people of Monaghan, that things would change if they got rid of the FF-led Government. There was an expectation among the public that, now the FF-led Government was gone, the health policy that had been pursued for a number of years would cease, and FG would return hospital services to Monaghan. Unfortunately to date that had not happened.
Full report in The Northern Standard

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