Fr Paddy Byrne CC has said that the staff at Portlaoise Hospital are holding up a health service that is rotten at its core.
Speaking at the Sinn Fein public meeting on saving Portlaoise Hospital A and E in Portlaoise Parish Centre on Thursday, November 9, Fr Paddy said closing the A and E is scandalous.
“The thing that really concerns me and there is probably a bigger conversation is the deep inequality that is in the health service in this country.
“We have fantastic front line people who give tirelessly, selflessly and heroically of themselves and they are holding up something that is just absolutely rotten at its core which is about inequality of health service.
“It has already been mentioned that our health is our wealth but I think that wealth is also health.
“As chaplains in the hospital and as servant of citizens fundamentally we absolutely are opposed to any cutbacks to the hospital, it is scandalous,” he said.
Fr Paddy Byrne has said that as a chaplain of Portlaoise Hospital, he knows that emergency services are needed 24/7 and that it is “absolutely crazy” to close the A and E.
“It doesn't happen necessarily between nine to five in the afternoon, we are called at 2am in the morning, at 6am in the morning, how can we in a very practical sense, outside of medical knowledge have a health sector and A and E facility that is proposed for just 12 hours a day? It is absolutely crazy,” he said.
Fr Paddy said that the closure of the A and E will have a huge effect on people seeking mental health services.
“Another point I would like to make, the amount of people who come into this Parish Centre seeking mental health support, the Parish Centre has a number of listening spaces but they need much more and I see first hand a crisis of mental health services in the hospital and I really would and strongly advocate for much more sense of availability for people who present with mental health in the hospital,” he said.
Fr Paddy praised the people who are dedicated to saving Portlaoise Hospital.
“Fair play to the good people who are here, to the people who are actively putting this conversation out there. This isn't about party politics or getting votes, it is about community coming together to safeguard and to save lives of people who contribute to family, to community and to work. We give 100% support to maintaining the life saving services of the hospital care,” he said.