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Costello resumes 10-year Mater A&E protest

JUNIOR Minister Joe Costello has resumed his protest at the Mater Hospital after the opening of a major new A&E unit was delayed.

The multi-million-euro casualty department was scheduled to open on January 29.

The opening was postponed indefinitely because other hospitals cannot take the Mater's emergency cases during the changeover period.

A decade-long protest led by Mr Costello will now resume at the hospital on Saturday to highlight 'inhumane' conditions that prevail.

"Every Saturday since April 2003 we have staged an hour-long protest to highlight appalling conditions at the hospital's A&E department. We finally called it off when invitations went out to the opening of the new A&E on January 29.

"But since it was postponed, we'll have to continue the protest."

Minister Costello started the protest following the death of an 90-year-old woman in April 2003 after she had spent a week in A&E on chairs and trolleys waiting for a hospital bed.

"Her family had asked me to help and I went to meet her at the A&E, where conditions were appalling."

A Mater hospital spokesman said: "It will be opening very, very shortly, in the coming weeks."