Gilmore denies 'parish pump' stance
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore last night denied he was "playing the parish pump" on proposed cuts to his own local hospital.
The Labour Party leader is not backing plans to halt the A&E in St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin -- but he also insisted he had never said he would oppose it.
"I'm not playing the parish pump and I have never. Of course I am taking a very keen interest in what happens to the hospitals within my constituency and that serve the need of the people in my constituency," he said.
"But I'm not going to apply a different standard to addressing that issue in my own constituency than I would expect anyone else to adopt anywhere else."
The hospital appears to be next on the HSE hitlist for downgrading, with an end to its 24-hour A&E service and patients being diverted to nearby St Vincent's Hospital.
Mr Gilmore said no decision had been taken on the hospital's future, which is based in his Dun Laoghaire constituency.
Meanwhile, the HSE last night insisted that no medical units would be closed at Mallow or Bantry general hospitals without alternative treatment services being in place.
However, the HSE was unable to clarify the precise cost of developing three new medical units at the Cork hospitals over the next 10 months, which will effectively replace the A&E units.
Bantry will lose its A&E unit in the autumn, while Mallow's will close in November.
"Both hospitals will continue to provide treatment and care that is appropriate for patients in the locality, delivering healthcare as close as possible to patients' homes," said HSE-South's Pat Healy.