‘Sit-in’ protest at Mount Carmel on last day
Staff spoke of their last day as `like ripping a family apart'
Some of Mount Carmel’s 300 employees outside the hospital yesterday. Staff described the closure of the private hospital after 65 years as “like a bereavement” and “extremely sad”. Most staff members completed their last shift yesterday afternoon. photograph: david sleator
A group of workers at Mount Carmel Private Hospital in Dublin began a “sit-in” yesterday evening as other staff said their final goodbyes to the much-loved institution.
Between eight and 10 members of primarily administrative staff began their protest at about 7pm, saying they planned to stay overnight in the X-ray department and that further staff may join following the completion of a nursing shift later on.
Many had brought supplies with them. There was a significant security presence in the hospital but no sign of any efforts to remove staff.
A public meeting was organised in the nearby Dropping Well pub where food and supplies were to be collected for those staging the sit-in.
Earlier, staff spoke of their last day at work as “extremely sad”, “like a bereavement” and “like ripping a family apart”.
Though some of the 300 staff at Mount Carmel Private Hospital in Dublin will be kept on for up to two more weeks to ensure an orderly end to the institution’s 65 years, most collected their P45s at 3pm yesterday.
A notice outside the hospital’s cafe on the fourth floor read: “The restaurant girls would like to wish you all the best of luck in the future. We will miss you hope you all move on to bigger and brighter things.”
Just before lunchtime, theatre technician Jamie Dunne took delivery of nine large pizzas. “They’re on the liquidator,” he joked before explaining that up to 40 of the theatre staff were gathering “to say goodbye, a few speeches”.
‘Slapped in the face’
“It’s a crazy day. We are all just one big group, we get on so well with each other, it is like leaving home. I came here after my Leaving Cert, came straight in here and I have learnt so much from them,” he said. He has worked at Mount Carmel for nine years. Asked how he found out he would no longer be working there, he said he had seen it on the news last Friday.
“It feels like you’ve been really slapped in the face, with no notice. It has been a crazy few days. It hasn’t hit home. The emotion hasn’t set in yet. The last week had been very difficult . . . just trying to get organised, looking after patients, let alone stopping to think. It’s just been auto-pilot.”
Maeve Doyle, who has been a midwife at the hospital for 24 years, said what she and her colleagues were experiencing was akin to bereavement.
She said the labour ward had been getting calls all week from former patients, many very emotional.
‘Emotional and crying’
“You pick up the phone and they say ‘Do you remember me?’ and I actually did remember three of the calls today. You do remember the women because you have them back and back and back and they were crying and incredibly emotional. Everyone is emotional and crying, the cleaning staff up to the consultants.”
While the Government has ruled out buying the hospital, local TD and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said in a statement: “It is my hope that the excellent facility of the hospital will again in the not too distant future be fully operational in the provision of medical care and that this important facility is not totally lost.”