Campaigners for the retention of hospital services in the West of Ireland are linking their protest to the debate on the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Yesterday evening in Roscommon about 600 people attended a local protest meeting (above) over the proposed downgrading of the county's hospital.
A motion calling for opposition to the Lisbon Treaty was passed by a clear majority.
Today a campaign is being launched to merge the support of other community hospital action committees into a united bid to oppose the treaty in the referendum on June 12th.
The planned downgrading of Roscommon County Hospital (right) has historically been a hot political issue. Health Service Executive (HSE) proposals to recommend the closure of in-patient surgical beds and the transfer of services to Ballinasloe have been bitterly opposed. Consultants in Roscommon have warned the move is a prelude to the downgrading and eventual closure of the hospital.
Last night's meeting proposed a 'No' vote to the Lisbon Treaty and the organisers are now seeking the support of 23 other hospital protest groups around the country in an anti-Lisbon stance.
A member of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee spoke earlier today on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland programme.
He said that the committee is a in principal "a non-political organisation", but it has been "forced to go political to get the government's attention".
The famous Irish-American politician Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, formerly Speaker of the US House of Representatives, used to say: "All politics is local."
And I might add to that my own thought: Everything is somehow connected to two things - politics and education.
The Emerald Islander