Hospital group to use coffin in protest


The Monaghan hospital pressure group Community Alliance is to hold a protest march in Dublin today, carrying a coffin behind a hearse to mark the day the hospital loses its surgical services.

The symbolic coffin will be left at the gates of Leinster house.

Alliance chairman Peadar McMahon said yesterday the Government must take responsibility and accept the consequences for its inaction on the hospital in Monaghan.

At 5pm today, the surgical ward in Monaghan hospital closes its doors for all surgical services. All patients will be transferred to Cavan, as will the surgical staff.

"As a symbol of that, we are heading to Dublin with a hearse and a coffin because it is the death of a hospital and it means the death of patients that should have been treated there," said Mr McMahon.

The secondary schoolteacher added: "We are going to walk through the streets of Dublin with the coffin and deliver it to the Dáil and ask Bertie Ahern and the Government: 'Who is to blame for this fiasco?' We are not looking for a major centre in Monaghan, just the basic needs for the people."

Mr McMahon said the battle for services at Monaghan is not over.

"We are not going to stand idly by or quit just because they took away the surgical services. The people of Monaghan know there are lives at risk here and we won't stand back," he added.