The Fianna Fail party in Roscommon has criticised the HAC in the wake of last week’s controversy whereby Cllrs. Valerie Byrne and Paula McNamara cast a vote for a Fine Gael Councillor (John Naughten) at a meeting of Roscommon County Council. In last week’s Roscommon People Cllr. Byrne was quoted as saying that Fine Gael, in closing Roscommon A&E, had only been implementing Fianna Fail policy.
In a statement to the Roscommon People, Fianna Fail Cllr. Paddy Kilduff said: “A war of words has broken out between Independent Cllr. John Murphy and HAC Cllr. Valerie Byrne following a controversial ballot at a recent meeting of Roscommon County Council during which both HAC councillors supported a Fine Gael candidate, Cllr. John Naughten, over independent Cllr. John Murphy for the position of Chairman of the Special Policy Committee.
“I do not want to get into this war of words but as Fianna Fail chief whip in the council I must on behalf of my Fianna Fail colleagues take exception with comments made by Cllr. Byrne in the aftermath of the controversial ballot.
“When asked by the Roscommon People why the HAC had voted for a Fine Gael candidate, given all that had happened in the past year with regard to Roscommon Hospital, Cllr. Byrne said: ‘It was Fianna Fail that made the decision to close the A&E at Roscommon County Hospital originally and Fine Gael were only carrying out their policy when they got in.’
“This is an absolutely outrageous assertion from Cllr. Byrne and I simply must refresh her memory and put the facts of the matter on record. When Fine Gael entered government in early 2011 no decision had been made by the previous government to close the A&E at Roscommon County Hospital.
“The Fine Gael Manifesto and election literature made no reference to reinstating services at the Hospital, only to maintaining and protecting existing services, promises which they subsequently reneged on less than six months into power when a decision was made to close the A&E at the Hospital.
“Despite the faults of and mistakes made by the previous Fianna Fail led government it only ever acted to maintain and upgrade services at the County Hospital. It was a Fianna Fail led government that sanctioned and built the state-of-the-art A&E facility at the hospital and it was Fianna Fail public representatives, most notably former Minister Michael Finneran, who ensured that all services at the hospital were maintained, protected and in many instances upgraded.
“Several reports stretching back over twenty five years had touted the demise of the County Hospital but during Fianna Fail's tenure the hospital only ever expanded its services and facilities. Less than six months into Fine Gael’s Government the most critical service at the Hospital, 24-hour A&E was gone.
“A HIQA report which did not even pertain to Roscommon County Hospital gave Minister James Reilly the opportunity to carry out the HSE's long-held desire for our hospital and in the absence of strong local political clout the fate of the hospital was sealed. This was very poor judgement and leadership from the Minister in my view and recent events highlight how the Minister is now struggling to maintain the confidence and support of his own Junior Minister.”
Issue dated: 03 August 2012
© Roscommon People