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Dublin: 18 °C Monday 1 June, 2020

Enda Kenny 'regrets confusion' over hospital election promises

The Taoiseach has insisted he was forced to backtrack on campaign pledges by safety fears at Roscommon A&E.

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said he “regrets any confusion” after he appeared to renege on election promises to safeguard A&E services at Roscommon Hospital.

Earlier today, it emerged that the Taoiseach had pledged to “protect and defend” the hospital’s emergency unit during a campaign-trail speech in Roscommon town before February’s general election. The A&E is due to be closed down tomorrow and replaced with an “urgent care centre”, which will treat only minor injuries.

Mr Kenny had insisted in a radio interview yesterday that he made no such promise. But today, the Taoiseach admitted: “When speaking in Roscommon during the election campaign, I repeated the commitment made in good faith by Fine Gael on the retention of services at Roscommon County Hospital.”

He insisted the Government had only backtracked on the pledge after a HIQA report criticising A&E services at Roscommon. “HIQA has advised that the provision of accident and emergency services at Roscommon and other smaller hospitals is not safe,” he said.

The Government cannot ignore this expert advice and, consequently this element of Fine Gael’s commitment is no longer tenable. I regret any confusion that may have arisen from my comments yesterday. It was never my intention to mislead anyone on this matter.

Mr Kenny added that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition planned to proceed with its health service reforms “and, in so doing, will prove its commitment to the future of smaller hospitals, including Roscommon.”

Read more: Enda Kenny made election pledge to protect Roscommon A&E >

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Michael Freeman

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