A lobby group formed less than two weeks ago brought more than 12,000 people onto the streets of Waterford at the weekend in protest against what they see as the latest official attack on the city.
The group, Save Waterford, staged the demonstration in response to fears of a downgrading of Waterford Regional Hospital.
Organisers, who joined with the Waterford Gives a Shirt campaigning group for Saturday’s event, said they were also angry about other “Government neglect” of Waterford and the wider region.
Examples cited included the plan to merge Waterford City Council with the county council and job losses that have left the area with the highest unemployment rate in the country.
“The people of Waterford and the people of the southeast have sent a clear message: don’t touch our hospital,” organiser Andrea Galgey said.
She and fellow organiser Gillian Sauvage Corcoran came together on Facebook and established Save Waterford.
“The hospital was the final nail in the coffin for the people of Waterford. Enough is enough. There is no county in Ireland that hasn’t been hit by the recession, but if you look at the statistics Waterford has been hit more than others,” Ms Galgey said.
The march trended on Twitter throughout Saturday afternoon and the group’s Facebook page had almost 3,400 “likes”.
The march came amid speculation that the Government will move to implement the report of an expert group, currently with the Department of Health, that is believed to recommend the break-up of the southeast’s hospital network.
Such a plan would see Waterford Regional Hospital and South Tipperary General Hospital linking up with Cork University Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny, and Wexford General Hospital partnering with teaching hospitals in Dublin. It is feared in Waterford that the end of the southeastern network would lead to some services being transferred from the region.
Minister for Health James Reilly said last week no decision had yet been made on the issue.
Government TDs Paudie Coffey (Fine Gael) and Ciara Conway (Labour) from Waterford were at the march, along with Independent politicians including TD John Halligan and politicians from neighbouring counties such as Carlow-Kilkenny FG TD John Paul Phelan.
Others who attended included Prof Riona Mulcahy, consultant geriatrician at Waterford Regional Hospital.
“I marched first and foremost as a mother of five young children and as a concerned citizen,” she said.
The hospital’s clinical director, Dr Rob Landers, said the organisers and everyone who took part deserved “great credit for standing up and being counted” in support of the southeast’s hospitals.
Kerry protest: Taoiseach heckled
Taoiseach Enda Kenny told a group of protesters in Killarney, Co Kerry, who shouted at him about his “pension pot” and accused him of neglecting the poor: “I don’t come from a family of millionaires.”
The protesters, who said they were from the United Left Alliance’s Kerry branch, heckled Mr Kenny as he approached the Plaza Hotel.
Asked by a woman who he would meet in heaven, he said: “I hope to meet St Peter at the gate, anyway. I hope he sends me to the right- hand side.”
Mr Kenny was attending the awarding of the Msgr Hugh O’Flaherty international humanitarian award to Sr Agnes Hunt, the first woman to be appointed chaplain of a men’s prison in England.
A significant surge in payment of the €100 Household Charge in North Tipperary in recent weeks has resulted in the lifting of a Government threat to further slash funding for local government services in the county.
During the summer Environment Minister Phil Hogan, noting that just over half of North Tipperary householders had paid the charge, threatened to cut the County Council’s Local Government Fund of €14.5 million by €1.5 million. Such a cut would have resulted in major cuts in local government services across the county.
But over the past six weeks or so a surge in payments saw a further 8 per cent of householders pay the charge, thereby removing the threat of the swinging cuts being imposed.
Two out of three householders in North Tipperary have now paid the new €100 charge
Via Nenagh Guardian
By God how they all tremble when the hear Hogan’s bark
We learn from the Offaly express that 7,041 non-Irish nationals were living in Offaly at the time of the Census, accounting for 9.2% of the population of the county.
According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office, of the non-Irish nationals resident in the county, 1,865 were UK nationals – the largest non-Irish nationality in the county, followed by Polish nationals with 1,566 persons.
To be consigned to living in the bogs of Offaly these people must have suffered desperate deprivation elsewhere
From the Munster express we observe
The Munster Express has learned from reliable sources that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, TD, is likely to announce this week that Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council will definitely be merged and that the headquarters of the new body will be in the county, not the city.
While such a move has been opposed by many politicians from both local authorities, it will be a particularly bitter pill for Waterford city to swallow.
It looks like cheerio to Waterford city Council oh well maybe a few less people claiming expenses
From the Gorey Guardian we lean
WE’RE sitting on a goldmine. Literally. Prospectors have struck gold in North Wexford, and say the samples taken to date have the potential to yield hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold and other precious metals.
‘It was very exciting,’ said Liam McGrattan, who works in Investor Relations with the IMC Exploration Group plc.
‘ This is a pretty big strike. I’d compare it to the oil strike off the coast of Cork recently,’ said Liam.
‘If we got two big strikes we could get rid of the IMF and the ECB out of the country,’ he joked. He said the operation would require an underground mine, meaning a huge jobs boost for the local community.
Well now Liam good news indeed but I see you work in investor relations. A profession well known for kite flying
Proposing speech for Motion That Waterford City Council demands that Minister Phil Hogan desist from his proposal to abolish Waterford City Council as an independent entity.
The Minister for the Environment & Local Government Phil Hogan is currently considering the abolition of Waterford City Council as a stand alone entity. I oppose this move as it would strip the city of a dedicated administration. Anyone who has visited either the newly opened medieval Museum or the Bishop’s Palace can see that for 800 years the city council has worked to protect the rights and privileges of this ancient city and the citizens that live here and make it the�place that it is today. Todays Council is the inheritor of that work and we continue to work to lead and develop our city. I for one am proud of our achievements so far.
via Cllr Mary Roche.
via Cllr Mary Roche.