A Clare Fine Gael candidate says it would be “disingenuous” of any politician to promise the return of 24 hour A&E to Ennis.
Martin Conway’s comments come on day eight of the election campaign, which has seen health and climate to the fore here.
Health is likely to dominate on the election trail in Clare, and throughout the MidWest.
University Hospital Limerick has routinely suffered the highest levels of overcrowding in the country, but Ennistymon Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway has defended his party’s record when it comes to investment.
He says there has been an increased Government spend of 56 million euro in the Dooradoyle facility over the past two years, while the 60 bed modular unit will be completed in the next two years, and the long term 96 bed unit is also due to go ahead.
Senator Conway says Ennis General Hospital has room for expansion which could help alleviate overcrowding in Limerick but he’s hit out at anyone promising to fully re-open A&E acute services here, saying it simply can’t happen.
Outgoing Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley agrees that there’s a misconception about Ennis General Hospital, saying it isn’t possible to base consultants in every speciality there.
He insists that the the overcrowding crisis in the Midwest can be resolved with increased investment in bed capacity.
But Deputy Dooley says there’s no point in having extra beds, without a recurring investment in staff.
Another candidate in Clare in this election is Michael Leahy of the Irish Freedom Party.
It seeks the protection of freedom of speech rights and promotes Ireland’s departure from the EU.
Michael admits that would be more difficult here than in the UK, given Ireland’s adoption of the Euro, but he feels the public wants choice and a new direction in politics.
Also today, Clare students who have been involved in the “Fridays for Future” campaign are calling on politicians and parties to take the issue of climate change seriously.
Rose Guy, a student at Coláiste Muire, admits that steps are being taken to reduce carbon emissions in this country, but insists the change isn’t drastic enough.
She wants voters to put this issue to the fore as well.