HUNDREDS of people are expected to line the streets of Ennis this Sunday during a protest against the ongoing overcrowding crisis at the region’s main hospital, UHL.
The public meeting and protest, organised by Friends of Ennis Hospital in conjunction with Restore ShannonDoc group, aims to urge the Government to upgrade the Ennis-based facility to a Model 3 hospital, making “local hospitals fit for purpose”.
The group says that the re-opening of an emergency department in Ennis would help relieve the pressure on University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
“The HSE cannot hire new staff in Limerick because no one wants to work in a war zone,” said a spokesperson for the group.
“We have several speakers lined up for Sunday who have personal experience of the horrors of UHL’s emergency department.
“We will also be reading into the public record a list of the local election candidates who have refused to sign our candidate pledge as well as naming those who signed up to support our aims.”
According the protest organisers, UL Hospitals group have recently issued a statement where it noted its “disappointment” with “unfair and inaccurate commentary” with regards to UHL.
“Whatever their disappointment is, it pales in comparison to the despair of people forced to attend the ED in Dooradoyle,” added a spokesperson for Friends of Ennis Hospital.
“We call on our TDs, our Minister for Health and our Taoiseach to make an unannounced visit to UHL to see first-hand the chaos and conditions therein.
“We deserve better than a dysfunctional health service which is what we are getting in Limerick.
“When Ennis was downgraded along with Nenagh and St John’s, we were promised a centre of excellence. We were told that the new emergency department would cure the waiting times and cut down on the trolley count. Instead we have seen the numbers of patients on trolleys increase year on year. Enough is enough.”
The upcoming protest will get underway at O’Connell Square in Ennis at 3pm, and is one of three planned events over the weekend, with a similar protest occurring in Nenagh on Friday and at City Hall in Limerick on Saturday.