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Thousands protest over proposed closure of Navan emergency department

The rally saw people calling for full services to be retained at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE turned out to protest against the closure of an emergency department in Navan.

The Save Navan Hospital Campaign event took place this afternoon, seeing locals turning out to call for full services to be kept in the newly-built Accident and Emergency Department at Navan’s Our Lady’s Hospital.

It has been proposed that the emergency department be downgraded to become a local injuries unit. This would mean people in the area would have to travel to Drogheda to access an emergency department.

A cross-party campaign

Deputy Peadar Tóibín, who was at the event, said that 8,000 people took to the streets of Navan today “in one of the largest marches seen in the county”.

He said that the campaign was cross-party and cross-community and received the support of the GAA, soccer, rugby and tennis clubs. Community organisations such as Meath River Rescue, ICMSA, Active Retirement Groups, Unions and schools also mobilised for the march.

The Crowd was addressed by health whistleblower Joe McGrath as well as Tóibín.

Tóibín said that 19,000 people with serious emergencies attend the A&E in Navan every year.

Overcrowding in Drogheda is a national scandal. If our A&E here in Meath is closed it will lead to delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, the spread of disease and over crowed, sub optimal care.

He said he has a “genuine fear that in some cases this will lead to deaths that would have been prevented”.

“We simply ask Fine Gael and Labour to stand by their 2010 and 2011 commitments not to close services until and new regional hospital is built,” said the TD, noting that this is the fourth march since 2010.

Retention of full services

The SIPTU Meath District Council and SIPTU Louth District Council are also in support of the retention of full services there.

They say that this “would not only benefit the local community in the North Meath area but would also assist in easing some of the overcrowding in the Accident and Emergency Department in Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda”.

SIPTU Meath District Council Coordinating Secretary, John Regan, said:

The decision by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to reduce A&E services in Navan Hospital must not be implemented until a Regional Hospital is up and running and providing much needed services to the North East Region. To do otherwise will endanger patient safety and result in an unsustainable workload being placed on workers in the Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

SIPTU Louth District Council Coordinating Secretary, Paul Henry, said they intend to bring all union workers in both hospitals, along with their members in other workplaces in the region, into a campaign of opposition against reducing emergency department services in Navan.

Health Minister Reilly “must be reminded of the promise he made on a platform in Navan six years ago to retain services at the local hospital”, said SIPTU organiser John McCamley.

We are asking him to publicly confirm that services in Navan Hospital will not be reduced until the Regional Hospital in the North East is in operation.

Read: Mass rallies planned across country as new National Hospital Campaign gathers pace>

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