Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath clash on Clonmel ‘patient hotel’

Tipperary Independents in angry exchanges on plans to deal with hospital overcrowding

 Independent TD Mattie McGrath:   has accused Michael Lowry of a “solo run” in trying to gain credit for a healthcare solution for Clonmel, something on which he and other Tipperary TDs worked. Photograph: Eric Luke

Independent TD Mattie McGrath: has accused Michael Lowry of a “solo run” in trying to gain credit for a healthcare solution for Clonmel, something on which he and other Tipperary TDs worked. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Independent Tipperary TDs Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath clashed yesterday over a new “patient hotel” planned for South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.

Mr Lowry said on Tipp FM radio last week that the HSE had sanctioned a 40-bed modular “patient hotel” which would relieve overcrowding at the adjacent hospital by accommodating suitable patients awaiting or recovering from procedures.

His Independent rival Mr McGrath yesterday accused Mr Lowry of a “solo run” and trying to gain credit for something he and other Tipperary TDs had worked on together. He said nothing had been sanctioned yet, but suggested the HSE was prepared to proceed with it.

Mr Lowry responded that Mr McGrath was “bitter” he did not get to announce the plans.

Political

‘understanding’ Both the Government and Mr Lowry have rejected suggestions

he has a deal in return for his support in the Dáil for the Coalition. However, Mr Lowry has previously been reported as saying he has “an understanding” with the Government.

Yesterday, he told Tipp FM his decision to support a Fine Gael-led Government should pay dividends for Tipperary.

More clout

Department of HealthSimon Harris

Yesterday, one of those consultants, Prof Paud O’Regan, told RTÉ that if planning permission was not an issue then the modular “patient hotel” could be in place within 10 days.

“The difference between Michael Lowry and the other TDs in the area is that he is a supporter of the Government so he has more clout,” Prof O’Regan said.

“The Government is going to look more kindly on a supporter than members of the Opposition.”

He indicated the new unit would be staffed by private contractors rather than HSE staff.

According to the HSE, no formal decision has been made about a new unit, though sources confirmed the hospital figures prominently in plans to alleviate overcrowding.

The Department of Health confirmed it has provided funding to tackle overcrowding in emergency departments but the decision on where it would be spent lay with the HSE.