HSE plans €90m cuts in the West of Ireland

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Talks are underway at University Hospital Galway between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and union officials representing HSE staff in the west. The unions claim €90 million worth of cuts are being planned by the HSE, a claim which is denied by the Executive. IMPACT trade union spokesman Padraig Mulligan said there are very real fears that the HSE will cut jobs and reduce services.

This comes as thousands have been marching in the streets over the last week against HSE cutbacks in the region. In Roscommon Town over 8,000 people marched against the possible closure of Roscommon County Hospital. When the protestors reached the hospital they linked hands to form a human chain around it, after which a rally was held in the town centre. The organisers of the march, the Hospital Action Committee, have threatened to run a general election candidate if the cutbacks are implemented.

Meanwhile, over 1,000 people took part in a public protest in Dingle over an extended delay in the opening of a new community hospital in the area. Currently the community is served by a 150-year-old hospital. The new €16m facility has been postponed indefinitely due to a delay in securing registration from the Health Information and Quality Authority, who have expressed concern over the new building. The protestors are calling for the opening of the new hospital and the immediate transfer of 43 elderly patients.

In the region of  6,000 and 8,000 people took to the streets of Ballinasloe to protest at any downgrading of services at Portiuncula Hospital , which was set up in 1943 and run by the HSE. It is the biggest employer in the town with over 700 employees. The Minister for Health Mary Hearney is a Potiuncula native herself, a fact of which the protestors were well aware.

Heading northwards, thousands had also marched in Letterkenny on the 10th of August, against more cutbacks planned for their region. In a statement from the Save Donegal Health Services Campaign , they called upon the government to “listen very carefully to the thousands of people who spoke with one voice today calling for a change of strategy by the decisions makers in Ireland on the lack of funding for our health service.”

WORDS: Joseph

  • Author: JW

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