Flanagan warns about money

HEALTH spending has been cut by €750m was the warning issued by Deputy Charles Flanagan after last Sunday’s mass protest.

HEALTH spending has been cut by €750m was the warning issued by Deputy Charles Flanagan after last Sunday’s mass protest.

Nevertheless, the Fine Gael TD, who said he regularly speaks to the Minister for Health, James Reilly remained confident about the future of Abbeyleix Hospital.

“These are very very difficult times. We have to do more with less. The health budget is €750m less than last year. That is real money but I am confident that, notwithstanding that, an arrangement will be reached with Abbeyleix to save the community nursing unit and make sure there is a high level of quality care for the elderly here in Laois,” he said.

Deputy Flanagan said the Minister was very concerned that the consultation process had not yet begun, and he is anxious to get a weekly and regular reports.

“He thinks Abbeyleix has a very fine futue and he too has to do more with less, and we have to work out the details of the future viability of what this hospital is.”

The TD said he would tell the Minister that the situation had not been resolved.

“I’ll be saying that there were 2,000 people at ther march and that the situation hasn’t been adequately resolved since the people marched, and that the consultation process which is commencing next week must be meaningful and overlooked by the Minister. I’ll be asking that he keeps a close eye on the process,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Government’s other representative, Senator John Whelan said the Minister for the Elderly, Kathleen Lynch would visit Abbeyleix shortly.