September 30, 2023

Leaders of campaign to save hospital that cases for Kilkenny elderly told to cancel protest or face jail

The organisers of a protest march who are campaigning to save a hospital that cares for elderly Kilkenny patients have been threatened with prosecution.

Hundreds of people recently turned out in protest after it emerged that palliative, respite, and hospice facilities at St Brigid’s Hospital in Carrick-on-Suir have ended and that the facility will be instead used as a chronic disease clinic.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler this week confirmed “it’s over” for palliative care at the highly-regarded hospital.

On Tuesday night it emerged that protest organisers, including Cllr David Dunne, were approached by gardai and told any protest would be in direct contravention of Covid-19 regulations.

They said they were warned that, as organisers, they would be liable to prosecution under the “Temporary Restrictions Covid 19 Regulations, 2020” and could face fines or even jail.

This has forced the campaign organisers to postpone the planned protest. Last week’s protest was joined by TDs Mattie McGrath, Martin Browne and Matt Shanahan, as well as councillors from Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford.

A disappointed Cllr Dunne said: “Our campaign will continue, as promised last week as a multi-pronged campaign to reopen our hospital.

“Sadly due to the advice given to the four of us tonight, public protests planned, including this Saturday’s one, are cancelled.}

“We are deeply saddened by this unexpected turn of events,” he added.


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