Protest at HSE offices over Crumlin cuts

 

Up to 25 people staged a protest at the main offices the Health Service Executive in Dublin today over proposed cutbacks at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

Members of the fledgling organisation Save our Crumlin Children’s Hospital Campaign entered the lobby of the National Hospital Office at Dr Steevens's Hospital building in Kilmainham which is restricted from the public earlier this afternoon and refused to leave until they had made their protest.

The group, which included several children, handed in a petition to a senior HSE representative demanding the organisation reverse its stance on Crumlin and provide the funds to allow the hospital to continue to operate at current levels.

The hospital plans to close several wards and theatres, and have some 7,000 fewer outpatient attendances this year in a bid to reduce a deficit of €9.6 million.

Joan Collins, a Dublin city councillor for the People Before Profit Alliance, said it was a disgrace that the State’s largest children’s hospital would not be fully open to children this summer and that operations would be cancelled.

“Earlier this week, Allied Irish Bank accepted a €3.5 billion bailout from the Government. We only want €10 million for Our Lady’s. This Government has got its priorities all wrong,” Ms Collins said.

“The top 10 wealthiest people in this country have €15.5 billion between them. Half of them are tax exiles. I want a wealth levy on these people to pay for the essential services we all need,” she said.

The HSE later confirmed a group of people had staged a protest at it headquarters but said the atmosphere remained cordial at all times and ended without incident.

“A small group of people handed in a petition at Dr Steeven’s to a HSE representative who noted their concerns,” it said in a statement.

Our Lady’s is due to close St Joseph’s ward at the hospital next Thursday. Two more will close in July and August.

The Save our Crumlin Children’s Hospital Campaign yesterday announced plans for a mass protest against the cutbacks at the hospital on Saturday May 23rd.