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Monday 20 November 2017

FG councillors quit over Roscommon A&E closure

Two Fine Gael councillors have resigned over the closure of the accident and emergency department at Roscommon Hospital.

Councillors Dominick Connolly and Laurence Fallon have quit Fine Gael over the party's failure to honour a pre-election commitment to keep the A&E unit open.

The closure came into effect from 8am today. A large protest is being held outside the hospital, which is now operating as an urgent care unit.

Patients requiring emergency treatment will now be taken to acute hospitals in Galway and Mayo.

Speaking to RTE from the protest, Laurence Fallon said that guarantees were given by the then Fine Gael health spokesman James Reilly and Enda Kenny that the services at the hospital would be maintained if Fine Gael came into power.

"We campaigned using that guarantee in good faith. But we cannot accept what is happening at Roscommon hospital, guarantee or no guarantee."

Commenting on calls for the Taoiseach to apologise for misleading the people of Roscommon, Fallon said "An apology is fine but if you don't rectify what has happened an apology is of no use."

Earlier, in an interview on Morning Ireland, Dominick Connolly called on the Taoiseach and the health minister to travel to Roscommon to explain why they made the decision to close the A&E unit. "It is the least they could do," he said.

"I canvassed with Denis Naughten and guaranteed the people of Roscommon that the hospital would be kept open. That has not happened and we are very disappointed. It is a huge decision for me after 30 years in the party to resign the whip but I felt I had no other choice."

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