AS calls were made to re-open 24-hour accident and emergency department services at Ennis General Hospital, members of local lobby groups ‘Friends of Ennis General Hospital’ and ‘Reinstate ShannonDoc’ announced the local election candidates who backed their candidate pledge.
Having attended election hustings hosted by Clare Public Participation Network across all five local election areas in recent weeks, representatives from the lobby group urged candidates to sign up to support their campaign to reinstate a emergency department at the Ennis-based facility.
According to ‘Friends of Ennis General Hospital’, a total of 10 candidates were absent from such meetings and therefore were unable to sign the pledge and one further candidate decided not to make the commitment to their campaign, Councillor Gerry Flynn (IND).
Defending his decision to refrain from signing the candidate pledge during the Shannon local election candidate husting meeting, Shannon-based Cllr Flynn raised his concerns over new data protection laws and said there is only so much elected members can do when it comes to decision making at Ennis General Hospital.
“I was a very strong member of the hospital action committee for many years and we protested all over Ireland,” he said.
“For many years I battled to save Ennis Hospital with a lot of members of the public.
“We protested on the streets of Shannon, Limerick and Dublin. We done the best and we even took the battle to Dail Eireann.
“To try and hijack what was a specific meeting at the Oakwood [Shannon Municipal District candidate’s husting] for whatever alternative motive – I certainly support better health services in the county if we can get them.
“But councillors don’t have a say over that. We can put down motions but it is only going through the motions,” added Cllr Flynn.
The lobby group now aims to work with elected members who will form the new Clare County Council in a bid to restoring emergency department facilities at Ennis General Hospital.