Party have called for an all-out effort by the people of Waterford to save St. Patrick’s
Hospital, regardless of whether they or anyone they know currently requires its services.
Workers’ Party representative
Joe Tobin (photo above, 3rd from left) said that there was a concerted campaign spearheaded by Health Minister Mary Harney
to close down St. Patrick’s Hospital. The closure of St. Brigid’s
ward on trumped up health & safety grounds was a pre-emptive strike on the part of the Minister and the HSE to kill the
Mr. Tobin said that
people were rightly outraged with recent developments which had seen a massive bailout of the banks, widespread job losses
and an attack by government on the income of workers and pensioners and public sector workers.
At the same there had been swingeing cutbacks in services such as those for children with special needs and a withdrawal
of funding for local community sports facilities. “The closure or downgrading of St. Patrick’s Hospital is a bridge
too far for the people of Waterford
and they won’t allow it”.
He said that the
health & safety argument was a red herring and was a matter which could and was being addressed at no cost to the HSE. The hospital has passed a health & safety inspection and there is just one remaining
issue outstanding which is the requirement for a special large fire blanket which will cost €40,000. This is being purchased by the Friends of St. Patrick’s at no expense to the HSE.
to undermine the case for keeping St. Patrick’s open, the HSE’s next ploy was to close St. Brigid’s ward
on the basis of a proposed new 50 bed unit for which planning permission hasn’t even been sought yet. This is merely an illusion produced by the HSE to fob people off.
Mary Harney herself has made it clear that there are no funds for such a unit”, said Joe Tobin who said the people
of Waterford should “hold
what we have” and make a stand for St. Patrick’s.
“We must come
out and stand shoulder to shoulder with the staff at St. Patrick’s who are not only fighting for their jobs but to ensure
that this vitally important hospital stays open. I would call on people to come
out whenever they can and join the workers and supporters of the hospital on the picket line.
They should also put pressure on local government representatives and give them a very clear message that the people
of Waterford will not accept this
attack on our already under-resourced health service in this region.” said Joe Tobin.
The Workers’ Party
spokesman completely rejected any idea that closing St. Patrick’s would cut costs.
“If this is about cost cutting then the first step for the HSE should be to cut the bloated salary of Professor
Brendan Drumm who is on €360,000 per annum and Mary Harney herself who gets over €4,000 a week for doing what
I don’t know except wrecking our health service. ”
Joe Tobin joined with
staff at a protest outside the hospital along with his fellow Workers Party candidate Cllr. Davy Walsh and Willie Moore and
other party members. They are continuing to support the protests on a daily basis.
Issued 22nd February 2009