Stand together to save our hospital was the unanimous call from a Portlaoise area county councillors.
There should be no ambiguity about the message coming from the Portlaoise Graiguecullen Municipal Meeting, insisted Cllr Mary Sweeney.
Adopted was Cllr Noel Tuohy’s proposal for an emergency County Council meeting to discuss the issues relating to the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, and that the three Laois TDS be invited to attend.
“It would be huge if we could get 100% of Councillors and the three TDs to agree that something has to be done,” stated Cllr Tuohy.
Cllr William Aird: “We were to walk in Dublin but the Chairman pulled the plug on it. I was annoyed over that. I did it (walk) myself.”
Cllr Tuohy: “We have to show that every single one of us and the three TDs are behind the hospital.”
Cllr Aird: “The decision will be made in Leinster House. The buck stops with the Minister. The only person who can overrule him is the Taoiseach. The time is running out. I spoke to staff members. The morale is as low in the hospital as it has never been before.”
Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley was also disappointed that the Dublin walk hadn’t happened. She added: “We’ve never heard from the Minister or HSE what plans are going to be put in place for the future of the hospital. That’s why we are not getting staff. We need to put the jigsaw in place. We should set a date for going to Dublin.”
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald: “I would love an opportunity for the Minister to meet us. I am sick and tired of reports on Portlaoise hospital. We are like a dartboard in that hospital. I don’t think any hospital is as scrutinized as Portlaoise. Have they done that with other hospitals?”
Cllr Tuohy said Hiqua had reported that the hospital was understaffed - but we already knew that and nurses had said so 16 years ago. It was not on that consultants should decide where a hospital should be built. He added: “Instead of closing it (hospital) they should resource it.”
Cllr Sweeney: “If staff continue to be demoralised, more and more will continue to leave.” She accused RTÉ of “lazy journalism” in reporting on the hospital—talking it down.
Cllr Dwane: “We are a grade three hospital but only receive funds for a grade two.”