LAOIS’ two TDs and Senator were urged to “get a grip” and make sure Abbeyleix hospital does not close.
In an impassioned speech Gary O’Keeffe, PRO of the Hospital Action Committee put Deputies Charlie Flanagan, Sean Fleming, Brian Stanley and Senator John Whelan on the spot over the campaign.
“We are telling you all make sure that we are not here again and make sure that this madness stops now. This is a simple decision. Get it overturned, stop it. Get a grip of yourselves and do it right because it will be wrong in ten years time and it will be wrong in 100 years time. We are not going to let it happen,” he said.
Deputy Sean Fleming accused the HSE of basing decisions on false information.
“We all know by now that the decision of the HSE last October-November was based on flawed information and that information never stood up,” he said.
He said the claim by the HSE to rebuild Abbeyleix was a “downright lie.”
“There are 63 community nursing homes around the country that are more expensive to run than Abbeyleix so there is no financial, building or structural reason to close Abbeyleix,” said the Fianna Fail TD.
Deputy Brian Stanley said the HSE decision must be reversed.
“We must get to a point where the HSE and the Minister for Health stop playing games with Abbeyleix. We must stop wasting time. It is outrageous that we have empty beds in the hospital when we have a situation when there are hospital in beds in Portlaoise that are needed and should be vacated,” said the Sinn Fein TD
He welcomed the HSE consultation and called on everybody to make a submission.
Senator Whelan said he would support future protests.
“Abbeyleix has become a byword across Ireland for the care of the elderly. It has become a byword for people who will stand up for elderly care and we will not see the elderly pay the price of austerity,” said the Labour Party Senator.
He said the protests would not stop.
“If we have to come out here Sunday after Sunday we will. the decision they made is a flawed one,” he said.