Fianna Fáil Cllr Shane Cassells says the people of Navan won’t stand for any more cuts to services at Our Lady’s Hospital.

Cllr Cassells was speaking at the huge march organised in Navan this afternoon to protest at continuing cuts to the hospital.

“The people of Navan are fed up with the broken promises of this Government,” said Cllr Cassells.

“In 2010 Health Minister James Reilly addressed the people of Navan and told them that, if elected, the now Government would retain services in Navan saying it was the best method to good local health services. Now he won’t even talk to the ‘Save Navan Hospital’ committee as services are moved to the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, which is already under severe pressure. This says it all about this Minister and his Government.”

See full text of Cllr Cassells’ speech at the really below:

“Ladies and Gentleman could I start by asking you to show your appreciation for the volunteers of the Save Navan Hospital Committee who in the past week delivered 40,000 leaflets, raised over €5,000, put up countless posters and made sure that such a large crowd came out today to support our hospital. So let us give them a round of applause for their volunteer efforts and commitment to Navan hospital.

“Folks two years ago at this very spot 10,000 people from this town and county came together to tell those in power at the time and those who were on their way into power that enough was enough – that the cuts to our hospital in Navan were not going to be tolerated anymore.

“That any transfer of services to an overburdened facility in Drogheda was neither safe nor fair on the people of Meath or Louth.

“Well it seems that the people in the HSE, the people in the Department of Health and the people in Government were obviously not listening to the message that day because we are back here again today to protect our hospital, which is placed in even graver danger by what has been going on in high powered offices in Dublin.

“There were cast iron commitments given that day by people who are now in power that not only would they fight to get services back but that there would be no transfer of services away from Navan until the construction of the new Regional Hospital.

“Some politicians went further and pledged to you before the last election that they would have this new shining hospital built inside the next 5 years.

“Those promises are gone up in smoke – but the people of this town have not forgotten those pledges and we will not let our hospital go the same way as Roscommon and others across the country. We will send the message clearly here again today that the future of this hospital is not up for negotiation.

“That flame of defiance has been kept burning for the last two years by this committee and its members – by people like Noeleen Donoghue, Tommy Rogers, Wayne Forde and by our medical professionals such as Dr Rory Hanley and Dr Niall Maguire.

“These men have cut through the medical jargon and explained to ordinary people what has been going on and armed us with information that makes us more powerful here today than the bureaucrats would like us to be.

“We have come here today looking for nothing more than what was promised to us.

“Minister James Reilly had no problem meeting the campaign when he was put on a stage in front of 10,000 people two years ago and looking for votes but last week he suddenly could not meet Dr Hanley and other committee members to discuss threats to this hospital now that he is in charge of the Department.

“His supposedly reassuring statement in the Meath Chronicle this week that he is ‘committed to engaging with stakeholders’ is a bluff and nothing short of scandalous. We want him to be committed to us not committed to closing us down.

“What he said in the Chronicle this week is clap trap speak to hide the fact he is coming to ‘try’ and get us.

“Today we have mobilised once more to send the HSE, James Reilly and our politicians a clear message from the people of Navan and Meath that we are going to keep the services we have and get back what we have lost.

“We have come back here today to cash in the promises that were made and maintain the health services needed for this county.

“Navan is not going to become the next Roscommon and James Reilly is going to find that the fighting spirit of Meath teams is very much alive in the people of this county if he takes that fight to us.

“You often here the phrase I’m not here for the good of my health – well today we certainly are here for the good of our health and everyone else’s health as well and we will not fail in this cause to Save Navan Hospital.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.”