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rally Protesters go to streets in thousands to stop Navan hospital emergency department closure

There are fears the A&E at Navan is to be turned into a medical assessment unit

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Protestors in Navan and the Navan Hospital (R)

Protestors in Navan and the Navan Hospital (R)

Protestors in Navan and the Navan Hospital (R)

Over ten thousand people turned out for a massive protest march against proposed cuts to the A&E services at one of the country’s leading hospitals this afternoon.

The monster rally took place in Navan county Meath and was organised by the ‘Save Navan Hospital’ campaign which is chaired by Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín.

He told the gathering,’ “I know of a football player who was taken from Páirc Tailteann to the A&E who was saved with only minutes to live.

“I know of people who had heart attacks, respitory blockages, brain haemorrhages, burst appendix, falls from ladders and cancer tumours who are alive today because of the work that the was done by the staff.

“There are thousands of people who are walking the streets of our towns today because of that hospital, it’s A&E and the ICU. It is by far the most important infrastructure in our county. One day each of us will need. The question is will it be there for us?” he asked.

“Patients are telling me of 11 hour waits in A&E in Drogheda hospital. Staff in Connolly were out on protest at conditions in their A&E in the last two weeks.

“ Orthopaedic treatment in Navan had to be suspended last week because of the pressure on the A&E and ICU beds in Navan.

“Indeed, right now there are only 11 spare adult ICU beds in the whole country due to the pressure of Covid. Yet the HSE seek to close our A&E. This I believe would be, absolutely criminal. It will in my view lead to excess death and illness in our community.”

The proposed cuts were ‘paused’ in a move by health minister Stephen Donnelly, but Tóibín feels that is not enough.

He said: “A few extra months is not good enough. We want and we demand, that the threat to our A&E and ICU is completely lifted. We demand that there is proper resourcing of our A&E so it's there for each one of us need it.”

Tony Coogan from Dunderry, just outside Navn, told sundayworld.com how the A&E service had previously saved his life.

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Tony Coogan

Tony Coogan

Tony Coogan

He revealed, “ I was leaving Pairc Tailteann the GAA grounds here in the town after a game in 2009 when I had a heart attack, if the A&E wasn’t open I would have been dead there’s no way I would have reached any other hospital in time.

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‘With a high risk industry in Tara Mines as one of the areas leading employers retaining full service in the local hospital is essential.”

There was controversy earlier in the week when Minister Of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Fine Gael’s Meath West TD, Damien English refused to lend his support to the march.

He claimed the services were not under threat and felt posters pleading with locals to ‘Save Navan Hospital’ were misleading.

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