Work continues to be done by Save St. Bridget’s Action Group

Save St. Bridget's Action Group campaigning outside Leinster House Photo by Anne Marie Magorrian from Save Our Services Facebook Group

A local councillor and member of the Save St. Bridget’s Action Group says Covid is being used as a cover for its closure.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions met in Leinster House yesterday, where a delegation was heard from members of the Save St. Bridget’s Action Group.

Cllr. David Dunne says that groups with petitions for St. Bridget’s, Loughrea Day Care Centre, and Owenacurra Mental Health Services were asked to come back to meet with the committee to determine if there was a linkage in their closures.

He says it was found that there were similarities in that they were all closed during the pandemic and then labelled as not fit for purpose.

Cllr. Dunne says he thinks this may have been the ideal option at the time but is now backfiring on the decision-makers.

“Covid is the link between all of these cases. Covid seems to be the ideal opportunity to do what they always wanted and close these down. This is after backfiring spectacularly on them, in my opinion, because of the figures. All you have to do is go on to Google and Google any of the articles from the press, and you can see small nursing homes closing down, we’re losing bed capacity, people are staying longer in hospitals because there’s no step-down facilities, and palliative care is under pressure. This is not working. So, whoever at the top made the decision, they need to reverse it.”

If St. Briget’s in Carrick-on-Suir isn’t to be reopened, then an alternative must be provided, according to Councillor Dunne.

He says they campaign group have been working away in the background since their meeting in February.

Other local representatives have also made their support for the campaign known, such as Cllr. Kieran Bourke and Deputies Mattie McGrath and Jackie Cahill.

Cllr. Dunne says yesterday’s meeting gave them three positive updates.

“They’re going to bring back the HSE; they asked for the minutes in relation to St. Briget’s Hospital – when it was discussed, who made the decision, and so forth. What they got back were three pages of blacked-out writing with a small few words and lines in it. Also, they proposed that the Minister come in, so now they can question the Minister. We were never going to get the opportunity to question the Minister. And the third one was what George Craughwell said: he was approached, but he didn’t name any people, but they said, “Stay away from the St. Bridget’s campaign; it’s being run by a political campaign,” and he said that was wrong. We proved the committee wrong because we have Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, and Independents.”