Fitzpatrick calls on Government to restore acute services to Louth County Hospital
Local TD Peter Fitzpatrick has called on the Government to re-open the Louth County Hospital’s emergency department on a 24 hour basis ahead of Brexit.
The Dublin Road hospital is currently primarily operating as a minor injury unit from 9am to 8pm, with patients with more serious ailments going to either Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda or Daisy Hill in Newry.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday as part of a post Budget debate, Deputy Fitzpatrick said Dundalk was “crying out” for a decent hospital service and urged the Government to consider it.
He said: “Dundalk has done really well since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, but like ever other town in Ireland, it seeks more teachers, special needs assistants, houses, therapists and so on.
“We have Louth County Hospital which is called the ‘Gen’. It has been open since the 1950s, but its emergency department was closed suddenly in 2010. There are capacity pressures in hospitals, with many patients being treated on trolleys, but we have a fantastic hospital in Dundalk which is open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It is time the Government considered restoring acute services in it. Since the Government took office, we have been promised a primary care unit and the provision of more therapists. We seem to have been promised a great deal. We have a hospital in Dundalk that is crying out to provide services and there is no reason it cannot be open 24 hours a day. The Government should seriously consider this,” he said.
The independent TD also called on something to be done to improve security along the border.
He said: “I come from Dundalk, County Louth. If one drew a line from Omeath to Cullaville, there would be 50 Border crossings in what is a small area. We are very concerned about what will happen post Brexit.
“We welcome the €81 million the Government has given to recruit 700 new gardaí, but the new recruits will not be ready to be deployed for a while. The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland stated the PSNI would not patrol the Border. The Garda Commissioner has stated he does not have enough resources to do so. While I welcome the €81 million increase in the budget of An Garda Síochána, there is a big hole in the resources needed to police the area stretching from Dundalk to County Donegal. It is important something be done quickly to address that issue,” said Deputy Fitzpatrick.