Fianna Fáil Cllr MJ O’Ryan has called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to justify the cuts to services throughout Waterford when he visits tomorrow (Friday).
Cllr O’Ryan said: “Waterford, like so many counties in Ireland, has been devastated by the slash and burn tactics of the Fine Gael/Labour government since it came into office just over a year ago.
“One of the most vital services severely under threat is the small, rural and DEIS schools. 19 small and rural schools throughout Waterford are under the threshold for potential cuts and in danger of losing teachers over the next couple of years. This directly affects the quality of education these students receive and the knock-on effect is the standard of graduate we produce will be hugely compromised. How can this government stand over this blatant attack on our education system?
“We are going to be faced with schools sharing teachers, which is a ham fisted way of dealing with this. On top of that, Clonmel army barracks is due to be closed by the end of the year. Clonmel Barracks serves many parts of Waterford and a huge number of families will be affected by the closure. Furthermore, there was been a reduction of 10% in the grant for maintenance of rural roads in Waterford. Everywhere you look, the people of Waterford are under attack.”
Cllr O’Ryan added that hospitals in Waterford have been targeted for cuts in the HSE South East Regional Plan.
“The Minister has approved a 10% cut in funding for the biggest hospital in the south east region, Waterford Regional Hospital. This includes closing 25 surgical beds, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), an operating theatre and 4 paediatric beds. There are more people on trollies in Waterford hospitals than there ever was before. The cost of health insurance has also risen and people just cannot afford to pay it anymore.
“I wonder will the Taoiseach take the time to visit the dozens of patients on trollies or the hundreds of children sharing teachers with other classes? If he did, he might see the huge impact of the government’s unjust attack on front line services and reconsider some of these disgraceful decisions. Reform of the health care system was just one of many broken promises in the Fine Gael Five Point Plan, we have seen nothing on this while the commitment on creating 100,000 jobs is just a pipe dream.”