A huge crowd turned out in Kells today to back the latest rally against the HSE’s proposed downgrading of the A&E in Our Lady’s hospital in Navan.
The sun drenched attendance, numbering over one thousand was led by two hearses symbolising the life or death struggle to keep the unit open.
He blasted the health groups workers for their lack of experience in the day to day reality of the front line in Navan hospital.
He blasted, ‘ Senior HSE management, the ones who make this decision have no experience, absolutely none, zero, of what it is like to work on the front line, they have no experience of what staff who work there face in terms of overcrowding.
‘They do not have to endure 12 hour wits in Drogheda’s Lourdes hospital or even worse 24 hour waits in A&E in Tallaght.
‘Yet they are prepared to feed more and more patients into both those locations.
‘If you haven’t access care in an emergency you are in trouble, I have lost count of the number of people who rang me and said, ‘Peadar our loved one never made it to the A&E they died on the way are we going to allow that happen in Navan too ?
‘The crowds we have had at previous rallies and this one is scaring health minister Stephen Donnelly, the one thing any minister fears is feet on the street.
‘My final message to the HSE mandarins is this you will be many many years drawing your big pension before we give up this fight.’
Fianna Fáils, Senator Shane Cassells, criticised the review currently been undertaken of the proposals, he said, ‘The HSE are taking us for fools, this review is going to be a fairy tale and we have shown them today we don’t believe in fairy tales.
Sinn Féins, Darren O Rourke also praised the turnout and said, ‘Your efforts have made a difference they have kept the A&E open so far and this campaign will ensure it stays open.
‘Another thing that makes a huge difference is the fact that we have right on our side, our fight is the right fight for the right cause.’
SIPTU official John Regan hammered home the point that Ireland’s largest mine Tara Mines operates in Navan, and emphasised the necessity of having an A&E close to it.
He said, ‘Miners, and equally importantly the families of miners need to know there is a fully functional A&E available locally,
‘My fear is that minister Donnelly will try and string this out until the next person takes over the department in a few months time when we have a change of Taoiseach we cannot allow that to happen..’
None of the local government TD’s, European Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne, Justice minister Helen McEntee and FG junio minister Damien English attended.