Thursday 25 December 2014

Fine Gael candidate vows to keep Roscommon hospital open

Sam Griffin

Published 02/09/2014 | 23:02

Cllr Maura Hopkins, who won Fine Gael nomination to contest the by-election in Roscommon South Leitrim
Cllr Maura Hopkins, who won Fine Gael nomination to contest the by-election in Roscommon South Leitrim

FINE Gael’s candidate in the Roscommon - South Leitrim by-election says keeping Roscommon hospital, which controversially lost its A and E unit in 2011, is a priority for her.

Cllr Maura Hopkins, who was last night selected as the party’s contestant in the run off for the Dail seat, stated: “I want to see a sustainable future for our county’s hospital”.

The issue of Roscommon hospital remains a contentious one after the government closed the accident and emergency service there in 2011, despite promises by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to protect the unit prior to the election that year.

Last night she said: “The harsh reality of the closure of the Accident and Emergency Department at Roscommon Hospital continues to conjure up raw emotion in our county.

“But I have come to this convention to talk about the future. And so it is when it comes to Roscommon Hospital,” she said.

Cllr Hopkins, from Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon, is an occupational therapist and was the favourite to win the party selection. Last night she overcame the challenge of Sean Finan and Michael McGreal who are both from Ballinlough in Co Roscommon.

Two Independent candidates, Emmet Corcoran and John McDermott, have already said they will contest the by-election. The run-off follows former Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s election to the European Parliament in May.

A date has not yet been set for the by-election.

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