11 November 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The meeting chamber of Monaghan Co Council reverberated with the sound of high-decibel verbal clashes on Monday as Sinn Féin members launched strong attacks on the voting stances adopted by Fine Gael TDs Sean Conlan and Heather Humphreys in a recent Dáil health service debate – and the under-fire Deputies were stoutly defended by their party colleague Hugh McElvaney, who launched an attack of his own on SF Dáil representative Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
Although much of the invective hurled across the room was lost in the general clangour, some colourful contributions were discernible, with SF’s Brian McKenna claiming that he had “almost choked on my dinner” when he listened to comments made by Deputy Conlan on local radio recently in relation to Monaghan General Hospital.
Colr McElvaney accused Deputy Ó Caoláin of “weasly words”, and reminded SF’s Matt Carthy, with whom he had the bulk of his exchanges, that he had been campaigning for Monaghan General Hospital before the Carrickmacross councillor was born.
Colr Carthy responded by describing a proposal from Colr McElvaney that the Council write to the SF TD asking him to support the development of services at smaller hospitals as akin to “writing to the Pope asking him if he is a Catholic”.
The roots of the clash lay in correspondence before the meeting which acknowledged a request from the Council for a meeting with Minister for Health Dr James Reilly to discuss the reduction in hours of the Minor Injury Unit at Monaghan General Hospital.
The response from the Minister was criticised by Independent councillor Paudge Connolly, who said that the Council was getting the “runaround” from him. Colr Connolly referred to promises made by Dr Reilly before he took office, and claimed that all they had seen from him since he became Minister was “the slaughtering of health services”.
Colr Carthy said he wanted to bring to members’ attention a SF motion that was put forward as an amendment to a Private Members’ Bill before the Dáil recently and which sought to restore services to hospitals in the north-east.
Colr Carthy said that Monaghan Co Council had taken a very strong position in support of this demand, and he was “shocked, saddened, and very disappointed” to find out that FG Deputies Sean Conlan and Heather Humphreys had, along with their Cavan/Monaghan party colleague Joe O’Reilly, helped to vote down the amendment he referred to.
Full story in The Northern Standard

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