Impact March and Protest in Cork, June 11th 2008


Workers from the IMPACT union marched from Cork University Hospital to the HQ of the HSE on Model Farm Road on Wednesday June 11th at 1 pm to protest against the ongoing recruitment embargo being orchestrated by the HSE. The protest, part of national action, was joined by nurses from CUH, by IMPACT members from the Mercy Hospital and by workers from City Hall. Placards called for an "End To The Jobs Embargo" and "No To Cuts". About 300 workers in all took part.

The protest comes at a time when the situation in a range of Cork hospitals is reaching a critical situation. The Mercy Hospital is itself at the centre of a confrontation about its new A & E unit which has yet to see a patient - we kid you not! - due to the financial restrictions imposed on the hospital by the HSE and Mercy Management.

The situation is no better at CUH where the A & E is already stretched to capacity and where vacant positions are not being filled. As this situation continues, the "Harney Solution" is intending to claim it first victim in Cork and at the CUH later this year: plans are now well advanced for the construction of the Beacon Medical Centre on the grounds of CUH. Beacon is a ‘For Profit’ medical centre and is intended to be the first in a series of ‘co-located’ private hospitals – a la Harney and the Government.

The IMPACT action is an important and significant attempt by health workers to fight against the ongoing cuts and restrictions being placed on our health service. As their work to rule begins to bite, it has been met by a round of intimidation from the HSE directed at IMPACT members. As today’s protest showed these efforts at intimidation will not be tolerated. Nevertheless it is important over the next period that further awareness is raised about the current IMPACT action and about the need to work for more solidarity, not just inside the health service but also outside. As the saying goes: together we are strong.

Added comment from Ray (from original story posting on
There was a good turn-out at this march, given it was happening out of town and at lunchtime. It's good to see that workers in what's left of the public health system really care about what's happening in their workplaces. The men and women who took their lunch time to make this protest really deserve our support, because they're defending our collective future well-being. I hope these protests continue, and I wish them success in waking people up to the stealthy privatisation agenda being implemented by Harney, Drumm, and a lionised wee cabal of capitalist senior consultants who are having a risk-free sham-competitive little gated 'market' created for them. We'll need a lot more out on the streets though to call time on the Blackrock Clinic, the Pinkrock Clinic and their elitist likes throughout our two-tier health system. The road not the footpath the next time!

(This story was originally published on on 11th June - see