HAC is ‘misguided’ on treaty – Higgins

Roscommon Hospital Action Committee’s decision to take a stance against the Lisbon Treaty has been criticised by North West MEP Jim Higgins as ‘not relevant and not helpful’.             Although the Roscommon HAC accepts that the treaty is not connected to the health services, they claim this is the only way to get the government’s attention on the issue. The group is afraid that the HSE proposals to close inpatient surgical beds at Roscommon and transfer services to Ballinasloe will pave the way for the eventual closure of their hospital.             Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins said he is ‘extremely sympathetic’ to the concerns of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, however he urged people to ‘segregate in their own minds what is a national competency and what is a European competency’. He said citizens should be putting pressure on the TDs they elected to represent them, not on the European institutions.             Independent MEP Marian Harkin also expressed her full support for the Roscommon group in their bid to retain services, and accepted that ‘Nobody votes in a vacuum – we all go into the voting booth with a certain amount of baggage.’ However she said she was very concerned that because of people’s ‘understandable frustration’, they might return a ‘No’ vote which would only end up ‘losing influence for Ireland at EU level, and harming our own interests.’