Join the march

It’s not about politics. It’s about people. Once again, the future of Roscommon Hospital is in the news.    A major march/rally is being held in Roscommon town on Saturday (details on pages 12-13) amid concerns about mooted centralisation of services and fears that the hospital could be downgraded as part of a new closer working relationship with Portiuncula.    It’s not about politics. Fianna Fail councillors chose not to ‘endorse’ the march in writing, even thought it’s Council ‘sponsored.’ However some Fianna Fail representatives are expected to join the march in private capacities. They can be sure many Fianna Fail voters will be there.    Though others mightn’t, we’ll acknowledge that Fianna Fail-led Governments have invested in the Hospital, that their representatives have worked honestly for its retention and development. They say its future is safe. Others say otherwise.    Certainly there is doubt about its future. Even if one believes assurances of Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney, isn’t it the case that, by the nature of their jobs, they will move on? Who calls the shots anyway? The politicians or Professor Brendan Drumm and the HSE?    Of course there is some merit in centralisation of services. But it is very hard for the people of Roscommon to argue in favour of downgrading of Roscommon Hospital. Look at the population explosion in Roscommon town and Athlone.  And what good is centralisation if people die on the rocky road to Galway, assuming that is that they get an ambulance in the first place?  This is a community march: It is for the people, including Fianna Fail! The message needs to go to the Government, the HSE, the political establishment: the people of Roscommon vehemently reject any threat of downgrading of Roscommon Hospital.    We urge all our readers to come to Roscommon town on Saturday and support this march.  Paul Healy,  Editor