Flanagan makes no promises

THE chairman of the Fine Gael Party said he is confident Portlaoise Regional Hospital will retain a 24-hour accident and emergency service, after July 11.

THE chairman of the Fine Gael Party said he is confident Portlaoise Regional Hospital will retain a 24-hour accident and emergency service, after July 11.

Charlie Flanagan TD, could make no promises to the thousands who had gathered for last Sunday’s protest march.

“I will wave no letters from ministers or election promises or literature,” he said, “I don’t do that type of politics. But I will pledge once again to fight for the maintenance, retention and improvement of services in Portlaoise hospital.”

Deputy Flanagan said he had organised a meeting with the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly for the following day and he invited his opposition party colleagues to the meeting.

“I’m calling on all parties to stick together because there is unity in strength and there is strength in unity and we’re all going to fight together for our hospital and for our services starting with meeting.”

Deputy Flanagan said he would be telling Minister Reilly that Portlaoise needs junior doctors to be appointed.

“I will be telling Minister Reilly, as I have been behind closed doors that we need these appointees, we need to have this team, we need to have them in white coats for July 11.”

Referring to earlier comments by member of the Hospital Action Committee, Peter O’Neill, that services would be continuing in the hospital after July 11, Deputy Flangan said: “I know what Peter said, I agree with him and I am confident that will happen.”

The government TD called on the medical professionals in the county to get behind the campaign.

“I want to see healthcare professionals in the county and region standing foursquare behind us if not on this platform today then on future platforms, We can only do so much, need the wise counsel and advice of the experts in the delivery of high quality patient care. Inspite of serious financial issues country faces, we are told that front line services must be protected. The front line service we must protect the most is A&E,” he said.