War of words between Donegal politicians over surgeon appointment

Sinn Féin and Fine Gael clash over second breast surgeon

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Fifty-one Donegal cancer patients sent to Galway for treatment

Letterkenny University Hospital

A war of words has broken out between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin politicians in Donegal over the appointment of a second breast surgeon for Letterkenny University Hospital.

Sinn Féin’s Deputy Pearse Doherty and Senator Pádraig MacLochlainn have branded as ‘outrageous’ what they describe as the ongoing stalemate surrounding the appointment to fill the position.

They said the appointment was previously committed to the hospital by Fine Gael TD Deputy Joe McHugh in the run up to last year’s general election. Sinn Féin said the commitment has still yet to be fulfilled, despite growing patient demand for the service.

But Deputy Joe McHugh hit out at what he called the 'manufactured indignation' of opposition parties in relation to the appointment.

Minister of State McHugh said “opposition TDs and senators” already knew that an appointment will be made shortly when they issued the statement  on the subject.

“I am disappointed that Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil representatives in the county have chosen this issue to be kicked about like a political football when they are well aware of the stage at which this process is at,” Minister McHugh said.

“They know rightly that this process is nearing completion and an announcement is due shortly on the appointment and they are jumping up and down now with their false outrage and manufactured indignation.

“Not one of them has ever raised this issue with me in the past year. We meet regularly and I haven’t heard one word uttered.

Commenting on the situation, Senator MacLochlainn said:

“Over one year ago now, Deputy Joe McHugh eagerly announced that it had been confirmed to him that a second consultant breast surgeon post had been secured for Letterkenny University Hospital as part of cancer services here in the northwest.

“This key pledge made by Deputy McHugh came just at the mouth of last year’s election campaign, and was warmly received at the time by cancer and patient advocacy groups here in Donegal who

have long campaigned for this extra position to ensure the development of cancer services in the region.”