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Thursday 22 March 2018

5,000 demonstrate against HSE's nursing unit closures

Eoghan MacConnell

THE Government will face a more serious backlash than that which hit the previous administration over medical cards if they continue closing public nursing units, protesters were told yesterday.

Around 5,000 demonstrators from Portlaoise, Athy, Thurles and as far away as Galway and Dublin, took to the streets of Co Laois to protest against the planned closure of Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit.

"This is only the start," former chairman of the Midland Health Board Martin Rohan warned. "If we don't get our way we will start a national movement and it will be worse than the medical card one."

Abbeyleix and District Hospital Action Group spokesman Gary O'Keefe warned of further protests. "Expect resistance because we are not going away."

In the past three weeks, the HSE announced plans to close community nursing units in Abbeyleix and at Shaen in Portlaoise.

A meeting has been organised between Health Minister James Reilly and Hospital Action Committee members in Dublin on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the demonstrators are considering protesting in the capital.

Irish Independent

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