Peadar Toíbin the chairman of the Save Navan Hospital group, has expressed his amazement at remarks made on RTE over the weekend by HSE chief Paul Reid, who stepped down from his position today, in which he appeared to suggest that despite health minister Stephen Donnelly saying the government was not satisfied with the HSE’s reasoning for closing Navan A&E that the HSE was going to do it anyway.

Toíbin told Meath Live, “I have never heard a senior Public Servant openly rebuke and undermine his line Minister live on the radio before. It is stunning that one of the highest-paid public servants would openly brief against his Minister so publicly. The whole idea of a public servant is that they implement the will of the democratically elected Minister”.

“What we are seeing here is an inversion of the democratic process. This is not the first time either. 2 weeks ago the Minister organised a meeting between the HSE and the elected reps of Meath. The meeting was billed by the Minister as a discussion on the future of the hospital A&E and no decision was made on the A&E. Yet before we left the meeting the HSE had issued a statement saying that the A&E would lose on the 30th of June. This statement was then retracted by the HSE shortly afterwards”.

“Paul Reid is presiding over the worst A&E waiting times on record. He is presiding over the worst hospital waiting lists ever and GP appointments are as rare as hen’s teeth. If he proceeds with closure, 25,000 people in Meath will be forced to attend an already jointed A&E in Drogheda which has 12-hour waiting times. This in a county where the population is near ¼ of a million people and is growing by 5,000 people each year”.

“A&E overcrowding is a threat to health. According to the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine, 350 people die each year in Ireland due to hospital overcrowding. We in Meath will not accept this. We will bring tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Meath on July the 9th. We will have a public meeting to organise that march this Thursday This is a life and death issue and it’s too important. Paul Reid said similar decisions have been accepted in other counties. Tipperary, Limerick and Clare would disagree. There are no FG or FF TDs in Roscommon”.

“But this is also a crisis of government. Who is in charge? A Minister and an HSE CEO cannot live in direct contradiction with each other. The Minister must be mortified at the scale of his authority that has been undermined. But the Minister’s blushes matter little when compared to the crisis that will be created in Meath. This is an incredibly dysfunctional situation. The Minister needs to implement democratic authority or go”