ARDEE Town Councillor Fintan Malone has condemned a plan to provide a 50 bed unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, while St Brigid’s Hospital in Ardee is neglected.
“We need to put our concerns as strongly as possible to the minister and the HSE,” Cllr Malone said at a meeting of Ardee Town Council.
“I will be very concerned about the future of the acute psychiatric beds at St Brigid’s when funding becomes available for this proposed unit to be built at Drogheda.
“Why is the fine facility in Ardee not being utilised?
“They are now going to put psychiatric patients in an urban environment when this they already have this facility at St Brigid’s.”
Sinn Fein’s Cllr Pierce McGeough said the council should not only voice these concerns but call on the Minister for Health Mr Reilly to resign.
“Minister James Reilly’s tenure as Minister for Health has been a disaster,” Cllr McGeough said.
“He jumps from one crisis to another.
“He prioritised two primary health centres in his own constituency and then approved funding for over e2m each for Wexford and Kilkenny general hospitals, both of which are in the constituencies of his cabinet colleagues Brendan Howlin and Phil Hogan.
“He continues to prioritise private nursing home care over public nursing homes.
“The appraisal document for St Joseph’s Ardee shows that the present balance of 69-31 per cent of private nursing homes compared to public homes, will be reduced to 80-20 per cent.
“Then you also have overcrowding in local hospitals and growing waiting lists, which is the complete opposite of what he promised to change in the programme for government.”
Cllr Padraig McKenny said Cllr McGeough should call on the entire government to resign.
Fine Gael’s Dolores Minogue said the minister had cut waiting lists but it would take time to get the health service in some order.
Progress had been made by the coalition government on health issues.
She said Sinn Fein was condemning the minister yet the that party was supporting health cuts in the Northern Assembly.
And if there was any wrong doing or any cronyism then it should be investigated but she did not believe that was happening.
Cllr Jim Tenanty said it was nonsense to say that waiting lists had been cut in local hospitals.
“People are two-and-half years on a waiting list for Navan hospital,” he said.
He said the health portfollio was a poisioned challice, but it was wrong to say waiting list had been reduced.
The councillors also condemned the closure of the chapel at St Joseph’s Nursing Home in Ardee.
Cllr Padraig McKenny said he deplored the closure.
“We should write to the minister and voice our concerns in the strongest possible way,” he said, “and make it quite clear that we feel St Catherine’s church should remain a place of worship.
“It has been an integral part of Ardee parish for more than eighty years.”
He was supported on by all.