Dr. Charles Byrne, a Psychiatric Consultant who has worked at Roscommon Hospital for sixteen years, said that a research paper from Sheffield revealed details of the relationship between distance and travel and the death rate. It found that every six miles extra on a journey added one percent to the death rate. Given that Ballinasloe is thirty miles from Roscommon and an alignment is proposed with Portiuncula Hospital, this meant that there would be a 5% increase in the death rate in Roscommon and 8% in Castlerea or North Roscommon should the proposed link-up happen. Warning that the powers-that-be were set to create a two-tier system, Dr. Byrne said that Roscommon has a fully-functioning local hospital at present, a life-saving facility. The quality of care there is of the highest standard, he said. His own father’s life had been saved at the Hospital. Dr. Byrne said that dislikes the term ‘centre of excellence’ as he feels it implies that smaller hospitals are second-rate. ‘Don’t devastate Roscommon Hospital by these reforms’ he said. ‘If smaller hospitals like Roscommon are downgraded the death rate will increase and people in rural areas will become second-class citizens.’ Dr. Byrne said that the tragedy of misdiagnosis at Portlaoise Hospital had nothing to do with Roscommon and was being used to sully smaller hospitals. ‘Are we prepared to let the dogma of centralisation create a two-tier service?’ he asked. Dr. Byrne concluded by saying that our lives depend on Roscommon Hospital and the public must reject the HSE plans.