A BITTER war of words over the future of the Sacred Heart Hospital continued last week when Independent councillor Frank Durcan accused the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health of engaging in a ‘subtle form of euthanasia’.
The conflict between Castlebar Town Council’s Fine Gael members and opposition members over the future of the Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar, escalated further when Fine Gael councillors were accused of ‘telling lies’ to the public.
Cllr Durcan lambasted An Taoiseach’s record in office, claiming he had only ‘fixed up jobs for his cronies’ and that elderly people in the Sacred Heart Hospital were being forced to eat their food with their hands because of the lack of staff.
“Recently, a son went to see his father, and he complained he was not getting anything to eat or drink for hours and was in pain,” Cllr Durcan explained.
“This was all down to the shortage of staff in the Sacred Heart. He was not able to use a knife and fork, and he had to eat with his hands. His son went to get staff and eventually had to ring his sister … when he returned [his father] was eating his custard and jelly with his hands out of the bowl.”
Cllr Durcan continued: “[Minister for Health James] Reilly is being aided and abetted by the Taoiseach is performing a subtle form of euthanasia to elderly people in the Sacred Heart.”
Kenny’s letter sparks row
The row erupted at last week’s monthly meeting of Castlebar Town Council when Cllr Michael Kilcoyne accused Enda Kenny of insulting the people the councillor represents in a letter the Taoiseach sent to the Council regarding the Sacred Heart Hospital.
In his letter, Mr Kenny said he meets with his Fine Gael Castlebar Town Councillors very often, and that they kept him well informed about concerns in relation to the Sacred Heart Hospital. He also said that he deals directly with the Minister for Health ‘about issues like this’.
Cllr Kilcoyne said he hoped that the councillors were not advising the Taoiseach that they were happy to see the hospital ‘go down the tubes’. He also said that the Taoiseach should be consulting with other councillors, not just Fine Gael councillors, and he said the Enda Kenny’s refusal to meet with him was and insult to those who had voted for him.
Mayor of Castlebar, Cllr Brendan Henaghan called Cllr Durcan’s comments about the Minister and the Taoiseach ‘scurrilous allegations’ but Cllr Durcan refused to with withdraw the comment.
Fine Gael councillor Noreen Heston said she found the allegations hurtful and told Cllr Durcan that she hoped he reported the allegations to the HSE.
Fianna Fáil councillor Blackie Gavin, however, also criticised the Taoiseach, saying he was ‘disgusted’ with him and that he had ‘let the people of Castlebar down badly’.
He also took a swipe at the Fine Gael councillors. “What are you at?” he asked. “You are doing nothing but telling bloody well lies to the people of the town. I know a person born and bred in Castlebar and is below in a home in Ballina. There are serious things happening with the hospital but you are huffing and bluffing,” he said.
Cllr Heston replied that she never lied regarding issues with the Sacred Heart and asked him to withdraw the allegation but he refused. Cllr Durcan continued his tirade against Fine Gael and the Government saying they had lied to the people of Roscommon and accusing them of ‘living in cloud cockoo land’.
Cllr Ger Derre and Cllr Henaghan defended the Taoiseach, saying he was doing his best and that the matter was complicated.
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