Petition of 10,000 signatures handed into Dáil for Carrick-on-Suir hospital
A busload of campaigners from Carrick-on- Suir handed a petition containing over 10,000 signatures into the Dáil on Wednesday calling for St Brigid’s District Hospital to be returned to its former use.
Last year, the HSE announced plans to alter St Brigid’s into a community health centre for chronic disease management, specialising in diabetes supports, with internal conversion works on both floors of the premises now completed for the new role.
The plan was greeted with anger by campaigners who saw the hospital lose palliative care use during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recent weeks, as restrictions lifted, they canvassed doors across Carrick, south Kilkenny, and communities in nearby Co Waterford. Speaking ahead of the protest, Tipperary TD Martin Browne said it was ‘unfortunate’ that they found themselves in a position in which hard-working campaigners had to travel to Dublin as part of their efforts to address the decision to close St Brigid’s. “It is unjust for the service users, their families and the people of the wider area who have come to rely on St Brigid’s and see it as an integral part of the wider community. The campaigners were met by Sinn Féin Oireachtas members, as well as Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald.
Tipperary TD Mattie Mc Grath, who is a long-time campaigner on the issue, said the save St Brigid’s Action Group are to be highly commended for their steadfast efforts. Thousands of people who have signed this petition have faith in the staff, the management and indeed in the nursing care in St Brigid’s Hospital. The people of Carrick on Suir and South Tipperary and into Waterford and South Kilkenny fundraised to put hospice beds in place in this hospital.”
“This is an issue that I have consistently raised since April 2020 with the HSE, the Minister for Health, the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach.
Last week in the Dáil, I again appealed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin to meet with the campaign group when on his visit to Ardfinnan, Tipperary last Friday.
“The Government have allocated an additional budget of over €3.84 billion to the HSE for pandemic related measures.
“Despite this enormous extra allocation, the HSE proceeded to close this hospital in the middle of the pandemic, even though financial resources were available and were being thrown around like confetti.
“The people of Carrick-on-Suir, east Waterford, and south Kilkenny have all been betrayed by the HSE actions pertaining to this issue.
Furthermore, they have been badly let down by the government parties, who have utterly failed to give an instruction to the HSE to keep the hospital open,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.