Sean Fleming TD spoke to a huge crowd gathered to discuss the future of Portlaoise Hospital on Wednesday, October 25.
"The Minister for Health said consultation will take place with local representatives after the report is published. My view is I want the minister to publicly state that he is rejecting this plan outright.
"Once this gets published we are on the rocky road to nowhere. If that happens we are fighting on our backs from there on in. Absolutely reject the report now. He has stated that he will speak to us. I am taking Simon Harris at his word.
"When it comes to Laois, Laois is the fastest growing county in Ireland. Portlaoise is bigger than Athlone, Tullamore, Mullingar. It is the fastest growing provincial town in Ireland. Cutting back services makes no sense.
"We did have problems in the maternity unit in Portlaoise hospital, they increased staff and resources and that has been greatly improved.
"It is lazy lazy management when you see a problem to close it down and run away.
"When you see a problem you fix the problem you don’t run and that is what Sheila O Reilly is doing.
"I am really concerned about the A&E, how can you have a maternity without A&E how can you have pediatric? If A&E goes everything else will follow in due course.
"This is a bigger plan to downgrade Portlaoise hospital over the years, they have to be stopped in their tracks. I cannot fathom how Portlaoise management have been drawing up this report.
"It is reckless management, I can’t understand the mindsets of the people. I believe we have a very very strong case to fight here.
"This is not the first second or third or fourth time.
"This has to be dealt with once and for all that can only happen if the minister rejects it.
"I will be saying reject that report, upgrade the hospital and upgrade A&E around the country.
"I genuinely believe this is not going to happen. I believe it is the agenda of HSE management to make it happen. Our job is to stand up for the people in Laois we will fight it tooth and nail," he said.
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