A priest behind the committee to retain and improve services at St Joseph’s Hospital in Stranorlar has accused the HSE and the Government of issuing fake news on the plan.
Fr John Joe Duffy was speaking as a meeting to discuss the future of the hospital was called.
The Save Our St Joseph’s Hospital Action Group committee will host the public meeting to be held on Sunday the 2nd February at 3pm in The Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey.
The meeting will discuss the ongoing uncertainty around the future of long term residential beds, Dementia beds, short stay Medial Assessment beds and other concerns at the hopsital.
All Political representatives and candidates in the forthcoming General Election are invited and welcome to attend.
Fr Duffy said that all politicians and local representatives from all parties are invited.
He said “We invite and welcome the people who have supported the over-turning of the Government decision to replace all bed at St. Joseph’s Stranorlar, Lifford and Ramelton with the new Public/Private partnership hospital at Letterkenny, a decision which is still stands.
“We welcome and ask all concerned for the retention of care for elderly and vulnerable people to come out and send a strong message to the Government that no amount of spin and fake news will silence us. We invite all the general public to come out to hear the truth and to demand immediate action.
On 25th July 2018, The Save Our St. Joseph’s Hospital Action Group had a meeting with Minister Joe Mc Hugh and other TDs and public representatives.
A plan to replace all long stay, Dementia and short stay/medical assessment/respite beds at St. Joseph’s Hospital Stranorlar was unveiled to get the new Private Public Partnership Community Nursing Hospital at Letterkenny over the line.
Fr Duffy said this decision taken by the Government on 26th January 2016 which still stands to this day is to eradicate care within the Finn Valley and the wider areas severed by St. Joseph’s Stranorlar, Lifford and Ramelton.
Our action group have continually stated this since 2016 and as many will recall there were some who said it was not the plan or that this decision was never taken, but alas it was.
Fr Duffy went on “Then there were the millions announced with fanfare – a problem solved so we were told, that was not to be, for there never was a grant of €2.75 million for St. Josephs. The announcement of the grant on the 13th April 2017 was never a reality. The further re-announcements of the grant of €3.5 million on 26th July 2017 and of €5.6 million on 31st July for Ramelton and St Joseph’s Hospital were not a reality, so it is little wonder trust is on the floor, that belief in the Government, in body politic and in an agency of the state the HSE is seriously shaken and eroded.
“On 2nd September 2019, Minister Joe Mc Hugh makes another announcement of a grant of €5 million for St Joseph’s Stranorlar and Ramelton.
“However, when scrutinized by Donegal Deputies in Dail questions to the Minister for Health, he and his Department of Health reveal that there is no such money granted.
“Once again on Wed last 15th January last, another €4 million euro is announcement by the HSE once again, this time for St. Joseph’s Hospital alone in a carefully worded and very well constructed statement that could lead you to believe that such money was granted when in FACT it was not and is only an aspiration.
“The HSE are in cahoots with the Government Locally and regionally in making timely FAKE News announcements.
“The HSE are in bed with the Government in Donegal at times that are opportune for the Government and not for our Community Nursing Units which is seriously concerning. It is seriously disturbing that the HSE would attend political party organised meetings for the public hosted by a political party that spins fake news.
“Each time that Dail questions have been put down on these HSE backed Government in Donegal and Government in Donegal backed HSE announcements the Minister for Health and his Department officials have given a different response to what the HSE and Local Government Representatives in Donegal have announced. Fake news spinning out of control; playing with people’s emotions, damaging people’s lives. Spinning Falsehoods for political gain at the expense of elderly and vulnerable people and their families,” he added.