Frank Feighan, has said that his nomination to the Seanad was a reflection of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s appreciation of the stance that he took over Roscommon Hospital.
Like Ballaghaderreen’s John O’Mahony, the Boyle man was one of Mr. Kenny’s 11 nominees to the Upper House last Friday, three of which were effectively selected by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.
Senator Feighan said that he only learnt that he was one of the Taoiseach’s nominees at 2 pm last Friday when Mr. Kenny telephoned him.
“He said that he was going to appoint me to the Seanad and asked if I would be interested,” Mr. Feighan said. “I said ‘absolutely delighted’ and that was it.”
It was a huge fillip for the former TD who decided not to seek re-election to the Dáil in February’s General Election, mainly because of the ‘baggage’ he carried over the closure of the hospital’s Accident & Emergency Unit in 2011.
However, he said that his nomination to the Seanad was linked to his loyalty to Mr. Kenny amid the controversy over the A&E decision.
“I think it is a reflection that I was able to stand by my beliefs and ideals and I was able to stand firmly in the wake of severe criticism and do the right thing,” Mr. Feighan said.
“I am absolutely delighted that there are dozens of people walking the streets of Co. Roscommon today and further afield that wouldn’t be alive only for my intervention regarding the provision of the air ambulance.
“I am also delighted that I have stood firm and delivered €20 million for Roscommon Hospital. I was vindicated.
“I think that it is a reflection of the people the Taoiseach wants to represent us in the Senate at a very difficult time.”