Anti-cancer activists say FF's Devins did little to help cause
Published 13/01/2011 | 05:00
FURIOUS campaigners who are fighting for the return of breast cancer services to Sligo General Hospital have rubbished claims by outgoing Fianna Fail TD Jimmy Devins that he had done all he could to have the service retained at the hospital.
Sligo-based GP Dr Devins, who announced on Monday that he would not be contesting the next election, said yesterday that it had been a huge disappointment to him that what had been a service "of the highest standard" had been withdrawn from the Sligo hospital.
In August 2009, breast cancer services were discontinued at Sligo General Hospital and moved to University Hospital Galway, one of the designated centres of excellence under the National Cancer Strategy.
Mr Devins insisted that he had always believed it was the wrong decision and he and his colleague, former senator Eamon Scanlon, had done all they could to have it reversed.
"I am very disappointed. I am incredibly angry at the way it was dealt with. It was the wrong decision medically," he told Ocean FM yesterday.
But members of the Save Our Cancer Services group said that Mr Devins had left it too late to take a stand on the issue.
"For the first year-and-a-half of the campaign he never fought for us. On numerous occasions he said it was in the best interest to move services to Galway," said Caitriona McGoldrick.
She added that towards the end, when the service was about to be transferred, he appeared to have had "a change of heart".
The group plans to step up its campaign in the run-up to the General Election in the light of commitments received from Labour and Fine Gael that the service would be restored.