In a statement today, June 22nd, Richard Boyd Barrett, TD announced the start of a campaign to maintain the 24 hour A&E at St Colmcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown. A packed and angry meeting in Killiney, last night, heard workers from the hospital, local residents and health professionals express outrage at the idea that the emergency service in Loughlinstown might be curtailed. The meeting agreed to launch its campaign with a protest at 12.30 on Thursday at the Hospital where it will announce a major protest on Sat 9 July that will march from St Annes Church in Shankill to the hospital. The campaign has also agreed to take up a petition to James Reilly and to lobby local TD’s until they get confirmation that the hospital services will remain.

Loughlinstown Hospital A&E serves 160,000 people in South County Dublin and Wicklow and treated 21,000 patients last year. Without a full A&E service in St Colmcille’s patients will have to go to St. Vincent’s Hospital which is already under capacity – 20 people were on trolleys one morning last week. The proposal to cut this service is the direct result of the IMF demanded cut of nearly €1bn to the health budget last year. Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It is utterly unacceptable to shut down the 24 hour emergency service in Loughlinstown Hospital. The budget cut to the health service is one of the many cuts that have been forced on us by the EU/IMF Deal.” “If there is a serious accident on the N11, the extra distance to St Vincent’s Hospital could mean the difference between life and death. These IMF cuts are going to kill people. It is an absolute outrage that this government is going to continue to shove through the kind of cuts that many hoped we would see the last of when we got rid of Fianna Fail.” “In the last months there has been talk of moving staff from the hospital under the Croke Park Deal. When I questioned the Minister for Health, James Reilly, on the impact this would have on the service I was assured that it was ‘of paramount importance that there is no impact on services to patients’. Clearly this is not the case. The loss of close to 7000 staff in the health service as a result of the Moratorium on Recruitment is driving an already crisis ridden service into the ground.” “It’s right that the Minister is acting now to ensure that more Junior Doctors can come on stream. But this should have been done months ago. The Minister would have known when he came into office that there would be a problem in July.” There will be a further meeting next Monday at 8pm in The Royal Hotel in Bray with speakers including Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Dr Peadar O Grady

Further details: Richard Boyd Barrett, TD 01 6183366