Thousands marched to defend health services at Letterkenny hospital from going under the knife. Anger and hurt was clearly evident on the streets of Letterkenny as pensioners and workers most vulnerable to any cuts in health services brought traffic to halt.
From the save Donegal health Services campaign:
"The Save Donegal Health Services today called upon the government to listen very carefully to the thousands of people who spoke with one voice today calling for a change of strategy by the decisions makers in Ireland on the lack of funding for our health service. Thousands of Donegal people shouted loud and clear they will not tolerate further cuts in health services in Donegal. We call upon all political representatives to heed the peoples voice, because if they ignore them it will be at their peril.
Our group which is not even two weeks old came together out of a shared sense of anger and frustration as to the effects of the cuts already in place, the impending cuts for this year and the threatened 600 million euro to be taken from the budget to keep Irish people alive. stated spokesperson for the group Martin O'Rourke SIPTU and Impact concerned about the savage cuts in Home Support Service, the Review of Lifford, the Shiel and the Community Hospitals, the proposed privatisation of the Laundry Service, the loss of services in the hospital and the loss of around 100 jobs with the resulting loss of many additional services in the county.invited the IMNO , all the local health campaign groups and also invited all the Donegal Oireachtas members to this important meeting in the SIPTU Office in Letterkenny to best determine how we might save Donegal lives and cease the pain and human misery caused by the savage health cuts.
Only two members of the Oireachtas made them selves available for the meeting Senator Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein and Dinny McGinley TD of Fine Gael. Both politicians stated they were not present to score political points but were there to best ensure Donegal People were in a position to have an adequate health care system. Both political leaders have given their time, energy and commitment freely and have refrained from making party political statements on the health issue since joining "Save Donegal Health Care". Added Mr O'Rourke.
The Save Donegal Health Care Committee which was formed at that meeting have agreed to be a non political community based organisation with the objective of securing an adequate health care system in Donegal and ensure the people providing that care were treated with dignity and respect. However we are also mindful it is politicial decisions which decide how many people will die on waiting lists added Mr O'Rourke Today with the turnout of Donegal people in their thousands the committee became a peoples movement with a shared objective of securing a health care system worthy of Donegal people.
The Committee would like to thank all the people who gave their afternoon to ensure the committee is best placed to shape a better more adequate and fairer health care system in Donegal. We thank all the right thinking people who gave up their Saturday to help us build a better future for Donegal. We intend to meet early next week to agree stage two of the campaign, among the items under discussion will be a public meeting where all political parties will be invited to send a spokesperson on what their party strategy is to reverse the cuts and to ensure an adequate health care system. "
Images (c) Paula Geraghty
Caption: Video of Save Donegal health protest 7th August 2010