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Govt wins Roscommon Hospital vote amid cuts protest outside Dáil

Tense scenes in the Dáil ahead of this evening’s vote on cutting Roscommon’s emergency department.

Protesters outside the Dáil this evening.
Protesters outside the Dáil this evening.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

AROUND 1,000 PEOPLE travelled from Roscommon to Dublin today to protest outside Government Buildings over the decision to close Roscommon Hospital’s emergency department.

The department is being replaced by an urgent care unit as of 8am Monday morning and will no longer provide acute emergency treatment. The new unit will not run 24/7, but will be supplemented by an out-of-hours GP service, based at the hospital.

The government won this evening’s vote on the decision to downgrade the hospital’s emergency services:

RTÉ reports that two Fine Gael TDs in particular came under pressure from their constituents over the department’s closure ahead of the vote.

Roscommon’s Frank Feighan indicated earlier that he would support the government vote, despite his election promise to fight for the services, while Denis Naughten says he is awaiting certain clarification from Minister for Health James Reilly before he could vote with the government.

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Feighan attempted to address the angry protesters outside the Dáil but was ushered back into the building.

In this evening’s vote, Feighan voted with the government and Naughten voted against. When deputies voted a second time after the motion was revised, Feighan again voted with the government, while Naughten abstained. Naughten had left the Dáil chamber after the first vote.

The Examiner reports that TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan warned his fellow Roscommon TDs that they would be branded traitors “til kingdom come” if they vote with the government to cut services at the hospital.

Poll: Is it the right decision to close Roscommon A&E? >

Read: What is an ‘urgent care unit’? >

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