Abbeyleix and Shaen Hospitals are still no closer to finding out what the future holds for them, over a year since the closure of their closures were first announced.
A statement from the Department of Health this week said that the matter was now being considered by officials within the Department and a submission is being prepared for the Minister.
The HSE were due to deliver their recommendations to the Minister last August, but it was January before his Department finally received them.
A spokesperson for the Abbeyleix Hospital Action Group, Gary O’Keeffe said they were fuming at the continued delay on reaching a decision.
“We are fuming at the fact that we were promised a proper consultation, which we engaged in wholeheartedly, and now we have been left in the hope that we will go away.
“We had weak confirmation from Deputy Charlie Flanagan that we would have a decision, but nothing has happened.”
Mr O’Keefe said there were empty beds in Abbeyleix, while people trekked half way across the county to Mountmellick.
“It’s a scandal that there are spare beds vacant in Abbeyleix, while people are being sent to St Vincent’s Hospital in Mountmellick. There is no justification for their relatives trekking down to Mountmellick while there are beds in Abbeyleix. It would be cost neutral, it wouldn’t cost a penny to have people in them.”
The Abbeyleix man said the Action Group’s patience had ran out and they would meet this week to escalate their protest.
“Twice now we have got 5,000 people to help us make our point. If we are pushed to go there, we have the organisational capabilities to cause a national protest. ”
He called on Fine Gael TD, Charlie Flanagan to do the job he was elected to do.
“To say there will be a decision at some stage, is an insult to us. We want him to do one job for us, the job he was elected to do.
“We realise he is not the Minister for Health, but we want it made clear to the Minister that the people of Abbeyleix and South Laois are livid, we want action and we are prepared to take action.”