Further protests over Crumlin cuts


Scores of teddy bears were left outside the Dáil for a second day today by parents protesting against cuts at the State’s largest children’s hospital.

The two-day silent demonstration over the withdrawal of services at Our Lady’s Crumlin began yesterday and was planned to coincide with the Oireachtas Family weekend.

Hundreds of parents also protested outside the Dublin hospital yesterday demanding health chiefs consider the effects of the cutbacks and bed closures on patients.

Karen Bodie, campaign spokeswoman, vowed they would not be backing down and warned they were determined to force health chiefs to reverse the cuts.

“We hope somehow the Government will restore the funding that was removed to Crumlin this year, that is our main objective,” she said.

Ms Bodie, whose three-year-old son is receiving treatment in the hospital for a heart problem, said lives could be lost if services are not reinstated. She said the teddy bears represented the children who would lose out through the cutbacks.

“It is causing such damage and it is only a matter of time before somebody loses their life in this country,” she said.

Ms Bodie said the protest was planned to coincide with the Oireachtas Family weekend as it was an ideal opportunity to show people’s anger.

Yesterday’s protest also coincided with a separate campaign waged by hundreds of parents outside Our Lady’s Crumlin.

Teresa Shallow, of the Save Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Campaign, said: “We’re not backing down by any means, we’re going to be a strong voice and we’re going to keep speaking.”

Ms Shallow, whose teenage son had open heart surgery at the hospital when he was four, said they were giving the Government an opportunity to reverse the cuts but were planning another protest in four weeks.

Last week the hospital reversed plans to shut more beds and theatre wards over the summer months, claiming the cuts would impact too heavily on patients and their families.

A Fine Gael motion on the cutbacks was defeated by five votes in the Dáil.