Naughten moves to clarify position on health after ‘misleading campaigning’

Independent TD Denis Naughten has strongly criticised “negative and misleading campaigning” over his stance on emergency services at Roscommon Hospital. Deputy Naughten recently said that he would be willing to enter into government with any party, including Fine Gael, after the General Election without the reopening of the emergency department being a red line issue.

  In a statement issued to the Roscommon People, Deputy Naughten has outlined the detail of his position.

  “I have always been committed to improving the emergency services both in Roscommon and Portiuncula Hospitals and I am determined to try to re-establish as much of the emergency services as I can if I am in a position to do so after the election as an Independent TD in Dáil Eireann.” 

  Elaborating, he says: “I would love nothing more than to see the A&E re-opened in full – and I will never stop working towards that goal – but I am also not going to lie to the public and say that this could be achieved in the short-term when anyone who has even the most basic understanding of our health service knows that re-instating the full A&E in the current climate would be next to impossible. 

  “There would need to be a significant number of consultants appointed to Roscommon Hospital to allow the service to be re-instated in full. Portiuncula currently has five consultant vacancies – one of which has been vacant for the last three years – and even with additional incentives being offered some posts haven’t received even one application.”

  He says that to state that A&E services could be restored in Roscommon in the short-term would be a “blatant lie.”

  “However that doesn’t mean we couldn’t see a large majority of the previous A&E services reinstated at the hospital. I firmly believe we could get to a position of having 97% of people catered for yet for some reason it appears other political parties would rather see nothing going on at Roscommon A&E than have that 97% being treated at Roscommon Hospital, just to suit their political agendas. 

 “To those claiming the A&E is not a red line issue for me I would ask them: if I am in a position, as an Independent TD, to deliver a deal that would see 97% of people able to be treated at Roscommon Hospital’s emergency department with the other 3% covered by the air ambulance should I really walk away from that and leave the services the way there are now? I believe to do so would be to turn my back on the people of Roscommon and East Galway. 

  “Regardless of whether I am in a position to form a Government after the general election I can promise the people of Roscommon and Galway that I will continue to serve as an Independent TD and continue to fight for the future of our health services.”

  Though not mentioning any particular candidate, Deputy Naughten claimed that the election campaign had become “dirty”.

  “I always knew this was going to be a dirty campaign, with negative and misleading statements being made about me,” he said. “What needs to be made clear is that there are ulterior motives for such a campaign.”

  He also said that, if re-elected, he would serve his entire Dáil term as an Independent. Fianna Fáil councillor Ivan Connaughton had claimed recently that Deputy Naughten was on the brink of rejoining Fine Gael.