'Thousands of women are making a 180-mile round trip for an X-ray'
Published 14/02/2011 | 05:00
LAST December, Caitriona McGoldrick (46) got out of bed in freezing temperatures at 5.30am.
The Sligo mum, who has survived breast cancer, woke her seven-year-old daughter, Ava, from her sleep at 6.30am and was on the road minutes later. Their destination was Galway University Hospital, 145km away from their Coolaney, Co Sligo, home.
"My husband had to take the day off work to drive me because I had just had surgery. The three of us set off to make the appointment," she said.
Since her diagnosis in 2007, Caitriona, and thousands of women like her, have become very familiar with the N17, which stretches down the coast between Sligo and Galway.
"I could not fault the service but it is no different than what we were getting in Sligo.
"It impacts on the whole family. Children miss school, men lose a day's work. There is the cost of fuel and overnight accommodation," she said.
While she was undergoing radiotherapy treatment, Caitriona used a bus service provided by the HSE five times a week for seven weeks.
Last week's contradictory statements about the restoration of the service in Sligo have left her "shattered".
"I have been campaigning throughout my illness. There is a machine up at Sligo hospital with a blanket thrown over it while thousands of women are making a 180-mile round trip for an X-ray. No other country would put up with it," she said.