We’ve been hearing a bit less from Deputy Frank Feighan (also now a Minister of State) since the Boyle native successfully switched constituencies. That makes sense. Feighan now represents Sligo-Leitrim, and is free of the ghosts of the relatively recent past, the Fine Gael man having been a central figure in the toxic Roscommon Hospital saga which peaked around 2011.
Feighan caused massive controversy by siding with his party when Enda Kenny and James Reilly facilitated the closure of Roscommon A&E. Much-maligned (to put it mildly) in the aftermath, he avoided career ruin by switching his focus to Sligo-Leitrim, where he impressively won a seat.
In latter years, the TD has gamely argued that peeing out of the tent rather than into it was the right choice, as he insists (at every opportunity) that he has actually been a positive force for the County Hospital.
It is true that, the A&E disaster notwithstanding, there have been some very positive developments at the hospital in latter years, not least as Fine Gael desperately scrambled to atone.
Even Feighan’s critics might acknowledge that there has been significant investment in non-emergency facilities at the hospital, but no spin or soundbite can change the shameful reality that Roscommon A&E was ruthlessly allowed die, Kenny/Reilly responsible for the single biggest political betrayal ever visited on this country.
This is all back in the public domain in light of Deputy Feighan’s mischievous declaration in last week’s Roscommon People that he is now known as the man who saved the hospital. It was the kind of brazen line that was always likely to inflame some readers (see Miriam Kerins’ column this week, also our letters page).