Thousands protest against planned A&E closure in Navan
An estimated 8,000 people took to the streets of Navan today in a massive show of strength against plans to close the A&E unit at Our Lady's Hospital.
Politicians and election candidates were out in force, joining the thousands of mothers with buggies, firemen, miners, trade unionists, hospital staff, people in wheelchairs, as well as people from every walk of life who came out in support of the A&E Department
A cavalcade of tractors led the way down the Trim road into the town followed by the Kentstown & Seneschalstown accordion band.
Outside the hospital, speaker after speaker reminded Health Minister, James Reilly of the promises he made at a similar march back in 2010 that services should be kept in the community.
Dr Ruairi Hanley, PRO of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign said he had no idea how James Reilly had held onto his job of Health Minister over the past year.
He warned that if patients are forced to go in the back of an ambulance to Drogheda instead of to Navan, they will be coming back to Navan in the back of a hearse.
He told Minister Reilly and the HSE, that they were the biggest pack of muppets and morons the country had ever seen.
Tony Fitzpatrick of the INMO told the crowd that a 95 year old woman had spent four days and night on a hospital trolley in Drogheda this past week waiting for a bed and urged the crowd to escalate the campaign to save the A&E in Navan.
The chairman of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign, Deputy Peadar Toibín, said there were people at today's protest that wouldn't be there only for Navan hospital and he called for a minute's silence for all the people who had suffered at the hands of the HSE over the last few years.
HSE management told the hospital campaign "in no uncertain terms" last week that the downgrading of the facility will go ahead as planned.
Three awareness-creating rallies were held in advance of today's rally in Trim, Athboy and Kells and the organisers got a good response for their efforts.