Pearse Doherty, TD
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has criticised the Minister for Health after he failed to attend a Dáil debate tabled by the Donegal Deputy this evening to discuss the future of services at Lifford, Ramelton and St Joseph’s Community Hospitals.
Commenting after the debate this evening, the Donegal Deputy also expressed frustration at the repeated failure of Government to give assurances that the facilities will not be downgraded as part of the current Capital Investment Programme for nursing facilities.
“As everyone is acutely aware, there has been ongoing confusion and uncertainty surrounding the future of services at Lifford, Ramelton and St Joseph’s Community Hospitals following the announcement made in 2016 that the facilities were to be replaced by a new nursing unit to be constructed in Letterkenny.
“In an effort to provide some clarity, I decided to table a Dáil debate on the issue this evening to call on the minister to clarify the future of services, specifically long-term residential care, at all three hospitals.
“Yet, despite the topic having been successfully selected for discussion, the Minister for Health failed to even show up in person in order to facilitate the debate in the Dáil this evening.
“Instead, the minister of state took the debate and despite asking her clearly to outline what the plans are in respect of these community hospitals, she again failed to provide any clarity of what the future holds for services at the three facilities.
“This is simply incredible and illustrates the contempt which this Government has for these communities which, for over two full years now, have fought and campaigned to oppose these plans.
“In fact, campaigners, members of the public, hospital staff, residents
“And far from providing certainty, this government has repeatedly offered them nothing but spin and conflicting statements on what’s in store for these services.
“I was happy to attend a meeting last week organized by those campaigning to retain long-term residential care at these hospitals, and while unfortunately, tonight’s Dáil debate failed to provide the answers these communities deserve, I pledge to continue to support them in their campaign to protect long-term residential care at all three hospitals.”