Charlie Flanagan must call publicly on Simon Harris to bin Portlaoise downgrade plan demands action committee

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


Charlie Flanagan Simon Harris.

Minister Flanagan and Minister Harris have had a lot of contact over Portlaoise hospital.

The Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee has demanded that Laois TD Charlie Flanagan call publicly on his Ministerial colleague in the Department of Health to reject the plan to downgrade the Laois hospital 

Minister Flanagan reportedly called for the plan to be 'binned' at the Fine Gael General Election selection meeting in the Abbeyleix Manor. He was repeating opposition voiced on his previous occasions.

In a statement, the committee said it appreciated and agreed with this. However, they called on him to go a step further. The plan recommends the withdrawal of paediatrics, maternity, A&E, ICU and most surgery from Portlaoise.

Thomas Timmons is the committee's chairman.

“We are very aware that Susan O’Reilly does not have the power to bin or accept this report. It is not for her to reject the report. It is for the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to reject this report in its entirety. We respectfully ask Minister Flanagan to publicly direct his request to the Minister for Health,” he said.


The committee secretary, John Hanniffy added that the committee, the staff of Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise and the public in Laois and neighbouring counties, will not accept the same report with amendments.

"We worry that a resolution which is merely ‘different’, will fail to definitively address the issues pertaining to the
future development and funding of MRHP,” he said.

The committee believes that altering the report when they say the methodological process to prepare was flawed is not the appropriate resolution.

The action group says the process was significantly "top-down, failing to consult with local stakeholders, as per HIQUA standards." 

They say the only acceptable resolution for the 'debacle', which has caused significant stress and anxiety to both hospital staff and the public, is for the process to be reset. 

The committee warned the Minister that the feeling on the ground is that, what support Fine Gael had in the last election will be lost unless the above appropriate resolution is reached.