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Child born on roadside as Monaghan Hospital is choked to death - Ó Caoláin

4 January, 2006


The latest birth of a child in an ambulance on the roadside in Monaghan en route to Cavan General Hospital has occurred just as Monaghan General Hospital is being "choked to death by the withdrawal of services", according to Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin. He described as "very ominous for the future of Monaghan Hospital" comments on local radio today (Wednesday) from Chris Lyons, new Joint Manager of the Cavan-Monaghan Hospital Group.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "The birth of a child in an ambulance on the roadside in County Monaghan is but the latest such crisis birth since the closure of Monaghan General Hospital's Maternity Unit in 2002. There have been others, including the tragic loss of baby Bronagh Livingstone.

"This crisis roadside birth came on the very day that all in-patient surgical services were axed at Monaghan. 26 beds were closed as a result. Now to add to the distress of the community served by the hospital we have this morning's comments from Chris Lyons, new Joint Manager of the Cavan-Monaghan Hospital Group. These comments are very ominous indeed for the future of Monaghan Hospital.

"Questioned on Northern Sound radio, Chris Lyons was asked about the future of medical services in Monaghan in the absence of surgical services which were removed yesterday. He was unable to confirm the future retention of medical services.

"We have now, as we long suspected, a real problem regarding the future of our hospital as anything other than a glorified nursing home. That the Joint Manager of the so-called Cavan-Monaghan Hospital Group is unable to confirm the future of medical services at Monaghan General Hospital stating that there is a 'divergence of opinion' about this is both alarming and bizarre.

"With the axing of in-patient services in Monaghan, 26 beds have been lost to the joint hospital group that Mr. Lyons now manages. Meanwhile patients are lying on trolleys in Cavan General Hospital whose staff must now bear in full the burden of serving these two counties for in-patient surgery.

"The commitments of the current Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD and of her predecessor Micheál Martin to Monaghan General Hospital have been torn up. Monaghan General Hospital is being choked to death by the step-by-step withdrawal of all services.

"It is time for the full truth to be spelt out. Fancy word-play and evasion do not meet the needs of the people of Co. Monaghan. We need to know where we stand, what the real plan for the future is and we as a community with the support of people throughout the country, must strive by all means, to have this disgraceful intent abandoned and reversed and for all key services to be restored and developed at the Monaghan Hospital site." ENDS

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