Following on from the magnificent Clonmel protest against any attacks on acute services, the west of Ireland showed the depth of anger was not limited to the Tipperary region. More than 8,000 turned out on the streets of Ballinasloe after Palm Sunday Mass to demonstrate that enough was enough and they weren't going to let go of local health services.
Unlike Clonmel, this protest was organised by the trade unions at the threatened hospital. Impact, Siptu and the IMNO had come together to organise different communities in a great show of strength. Padraig Mullins from Impact led the charge against the government and TD's noting the significant joblosses which had been accepted by locals but touching the health faciilties was a step too far. Colm Keaveney, Siptu, articulated the anger at vast quantities of cash having been squandered by the Dublin Docklands Authority in one business transaction and the result was an attempt to make those who use the Portiuncula Hospital to pay for the waste of the Celtic Tiger quangos. Ann Moore highlighted the award winning services at Portiuncula and it was the only Irish hospital to win this Unicef award twice.
John McDermot from the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee said that the reason they had held onto their hospital in Roscommon was they had been campaigning for thirty years to maitain what they did have. He was adamant and unapologetic for the political nature of their campaign.He told the vast crowd that if the politicians wouldn't do their job that the people of Roscommon would do it for them.
Expect more protests in Ballinasloe!
Caption: Video Id: wxXoYlHt3No Type: Youtube Video
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The people have paid for vital services, not for bank bailouts. The 'free market' years have brought them to a condition of being robbed!
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