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Independent TD Catherine Connolly Eamonn Farrell
Leaders' Questions

'One always loses the will to live on this': Catherine Connolly slams Govt over trolley numbers

“I don’t want to stand here and lambaste the Government. I want a public health service that’s fit for us to call ourselves a Republic.”

GALWAY TD CATHERINE CONNOLLY has decried the level of care being provided in Galway University Hospital and told the Dáil that a new A&E and maternity ward are needed. 

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Connolly said the Government has promised both but that there is no clarity over when it is going to happen. 

“All of the time I am getting different answers.

“It would be easier to read The Castle or Metamorphosis by Kafka – which is extremely difficult to read – It would be easier to read it in German, Irish or English than to understand the answers that are coming in relation to the hospital in Galway,” the Independent TD said. 

Connolly pointed to an appraisal carried out in 2019 which found that 64% of the infrastructure was not suitable.

She said today, 62 patients are on trolleys in the hospital and noted that earlier this year when the number hit 73 it was the worst recorded figure since the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) started collecting data. 

In 2015, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that the hospital was “not fit for purpose”.

“No progress has been made at all on the hospital in Galway other than the temporary Accident and Emergency which cost €15 or €16 million,” Connolly said today. 

In response, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath who was taking Leaders’ Questions, said progress is being made and a “masterplan” is being finalised. 

He said this includes a new emergency department, a new laboratory, a new cancer centre and a new women and children’s block. 

Plans will also be overseen for the Merlin Park campus.

“Progress is being made, a design team has been appointed, a programme manager has also been appointed,” McGrath said.  

He added that the hospital will benefit from 198 beds by 2028.

In response, Connolly said: 

Minister, one always loses the will to live really in relation to this.”

She continued: “2014: Not fit for purpose. 10 years later: Not fit for purpose. And you are telling me then that there is money going into this?”

“How in God’s name can we stand over a situation 10 years later, where we don’t even have a deadline for an accident and emergency?,” Connolly asked.

I don’t want to stand here and lambaste the Government. I want a public health service that’s fit for us to call ourselves a Republic.”

In response, McGrath admitted that the hospital is not fit for purpose but added that trolley numbers have improved over time. 

“They’re down nationally.

“You’ve highlighted what is happening today in the hospital. And what I’m saying to you, as minister on behalf of the Government, is that that is not acceptable to us and we will address it,” McGrath said.

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