Hospital fight: public urged to set politics aside and ‘unite’

Paul Healy  The fight to prevent downgrading of Roscommon Hospital received a timely boost this week when one of the most influential organisations in the county took a strong public stance on the issue.    In a statement issued to the Roscommon People, Roscommon Lions Club indicated its support for Minister Michael Finneran’s stance on the retention of surgical services at Roscommon County Hospital.    Speaking to the Roscommon People last night (Wednesday) Lions Club President Mr. John F. Hanley said that at the monthly meeting of Roscommon Lions Club on Tuesday night members had endorsed Minister Finneran’s stance. Health Minister Mary Harney has insisted that the HSE’s ‘preferred option’ (widely interpreted as loss of in-patient surgery at Roscommon) is the way forward but Minister Finneran has stated that he rejects that plan. The next move in this saga is likely to be a meeting between Professor Brendan Drumm of the HSE and consultant staff at the hospital.    Mr. Hanley said that the Lions Club has decided to come out publicly in support of ‘Minister Finneran and all involved’ in the efforts to avoid downgrading of the hospital. Paying tribute to staff at the hospital, he added: ‘The Lions Club would also like to endorse the fantastic credentials of the resident Consultant Surgeon Mr. Liam McMullen, a man with tremendous experience and a great reputation.’    Mr. Hanley added that the Lions Club initiative reflects the ‘very genuine concern’ in the community at recent developments. ‘We believe we have a role to play at this time