Fianna Fáil MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has challenged the minister to come to Lifford and talk to the people himself.  He said he condemned the proposal which has been endorsed by the minister.
 
“The 12-week consultation period is much too short to give an opportunity to all stakeholders to engage with a view to having the proposal reversed.  Lifford hospital is home to many of the patients including one who has been there in excess of 25 years.”
 
The minister is believed to have given assurances, both as spokesperson and minister, that it would remain open.  When such proposals were floated during his party’s term in government both he and former TD Mary Coughlan, met with the former minister and HSE personnel, where they made a strong case for Lifford’s retention while the other parties in opposition were in favour of its retention but have now done a complete u-turn when elected to government.
 
“Lifford hospital, by and large, complies with all HIQA standards up to 2015 therefore the minister should at least give a reprieve until then and in the meantime allow all other options to be considered, including an investment by the HSE to upgrade the hospital to comply with post-2015 HIQA standards as well as an increase in its capacity which would reduce unit costs.”
 
He suggested the minister should travel to Lifford to meet the community and establish for himself at first hand, the strength of feeling in the community and as well meet with the Friends of Lifford Hospital, all public representatives, local and national and all effected groups.
 
“As a TD / MEP who has served the county for over 30 years I will be more than happy to be part of that deputation,” he said.