Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, has told Meath Live, ‘I won’t be attending the Save Navan Hospital rally this Saturday as I don’t feel there is a need for it in the first place.’

He revealed, ‘I feel it is not necessary because we need to follow scientific advice on the situation, let us be straight about this nobody in their right mind would take medical advice from Peadar Toíbin and Johnny Guirke rather than a medical expert like Gerry McEntee if a family member was seriously ill.

‘That said the proposal to replace the A&E cannot and should not happen at the moment I say that as I am far from reassured that the Lourdes in Drogheda can cope and until the resources are put into the Lourdes I wouldn’t want it to happen.

‘People may not be aware of it, and as politicians, we may be partly to blame for not trumpeting it enough, but in the last six years the budget for Navan hospital has risen from €41m to €57m a 27% increase, full-time staff has risen from 496 to 613,

‘Also a state-of-the-art lab with the capacity to process 2.5 million tests annually has been constructed, and in terms of what has been delivered that is the tip of the iceberg.

‘They are my legitimate reasons for not going.