Last Thursday, June 23 Minister for Health Dr James Reilly ruled out a return of breast cancer surgery to Sligo General Hospital in the short term.
After a meeting with representatives from the Sligo North Leitrim constituency and Oireachtas members from the North West, Minister Reilly said the matter was still under review.
Minister Reilly stated, “I wish, for the sake of clarity, to confirm that while there are no immediate plans for the return of breast cancer surgery to Sligo General Hospital the matter remains under review.”
The meeting at Government buildings was arranged the day following Junior Minister John Perry’s controversial press conference in Sligo on June 17. Pre-election, John Perry had promised to restore full breast cancer services to Sligo Hospital within 100 days of a Fine Gael Government. He failed to deliver on that promise and Minister Reilly’s statement last week added to the disappointment for many that vital services which were removed from the hospital in 2009 will not be returning any time soon.
Catriona McGoldrick from Save Sligo Cancer Services told the Leitrim Observer they were “devastated” by the news. “We still thought there was hope, we believed Fine Gael for three years and all they have given us is a review.”
Catriona was one of three campaigners who appeared last week on TV3’s Midweek programme to discuss the fight to restore breast cancer services to Sligo General Hospital.
Ms McGoldrick said the campaigners have written to Minister James Reilly seeking a meeting with him. “We want to know more about the review on the hospital, what form it will take and how long it is for. We want to know exactly what the obstacles to restoration are.”
She said following this meeting the campaigners will set up a public meeting. “There is anger on the streets, people need somewhere to voice their opinion.” Despite the huge setback in the campaign,
Catriona said they will move onwards, she said they are still calling on Deputies John Perry and Tony McLoughlin to resign. “We shouldn’t have to ask for them to resign, if they had a drop of integrity, they would do it themselves,” she commented.
Deputy Tony McLoughlin stated to the Leitrim Observer this week “I personally gave no commitment to any time frame 100 days or any other number of days during the General Election. It is my firm belief that Minister Reilly must be given the time and space to do his job and I am prepared to afford him that. The original decision by the FF/Green Government not to select Sligo as one of the ‘Centres of Excellence’ cancer hospitals was a catastrophic one at that time for the people of the wider region.”
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.