A public meeting which was to have taken place on Sunday afternoon to discuss the future of St Joseph's Hospital in Stranorlar has been cancelled, because of what the organisers have termed "non engagement from Minister Joe Mc Hugh"
The Save Our St Joseph's Hospital campaign says they had hoped Minister Mc Hugh would attend to clarify the position regarding the hospital's future, and in particular, the scope of works announced by the HSE this month to bring the hospital up to HIQA standards.
Statement in full -
St Joseph’s Community Hospital Action Group cancel meeting due to lack of engagement from Minister Mc Hugh-
Not for the first time has Minister Mc Hugh Shunned this committee as he continues his game of ducking and diving on this critical issue for the people of the Finn Valley area-
The Save Our St. Joseph’s Hospital Action Group Stranorlar have taken the decision to cancel their planned public meeting for next Sunday 2nd February , on the grounds of complete lack of engagement from Minister Joe Mc Hugh’s Office.
Despite since numerous efforts since last Monday 23rd to get a reply from the Minister – an original invitation on 22nd January plus 4 reminders, over a week-long period we have received no reply of any nature from either him or any member of his staff despite the email of 23rd January that, “We will check the diary for the coming days and we will get back in touch with you again as soon as possible to let you know if Joe can attend this meeting on Sunday at 3pm.”. It is nothing short of disgusting the way he has treated us as a Committee since February 2016, bearing in mind our committee is made up of voluntary people from all areas of life and several communities, from Glenfin, the Twin, Towns, Finn Valley, Killygordon, Crossroads, Castlefinn, Finn Valley and beyond, from different shades of political opinion and even those who have no political allegiance of any nature - he has treated us with utter and complete contempt.
All other candidates and public representatives have already accepted their invitations and did so in a prompt and with the courtesies you would extend to a community group wishing to improve the services of their area on this occasion and on the occasions of so many other meetings including 3 previous Public meetings which Minister Mc Hugh failed to attend.
We have members who despite past let downs, false dawns, and fake announcements were prepared to give the benefit of the doubt in this instance but their remaining belief in Minister Mc Hugh to deal with this issue in a fair and transparent manner is now shattered.
We wish to acknowledge all the public representatives and/or candidates – who committed to attend our meeting and who engaged with us. We respect their honesty and support of our Action Group and campaign. We publicly Thank you sincerely for that support.
These candidates deserve recognition and respect for the manner in which they have worked with us and engaged with us – they have treated us with respect and have helped us in every way possible. Previously they also would have attended other meetings which we held including three public meetings.
But, unfortunately the same cannot be said of Minister Mc Hugh, he has let us down so many times and has failed to attend our public meetings, this is another example of how he works with communities such as ours and a final demonstration of why we have lost confidence in him.
We were not prepared to allow this to continue until Sunday, and it would be unfair to continue with the meeting knowing as we do, that we have the 100% support of all the other candidates but the individual who has since 2016 sent out mixed messages , announcing fake grants and referring to plans that never were – how can we further allow this pretense to continue.
To continue with a meeting where the Government Representative has failed to communicate/engage with us or give any indication to attend would be taking people out of their homes in large numbers to be left with the situation that they could not get answers from the Person who has the answers. The answers to why there has been so many fake grants, false announcements, promises of meetings and documents that never transpired and imaginary plans that disappeared as fast as the imaginary ink dried on them. As a famous British Politician once said, ‘Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.’ We need the Truth and the will from Government to deliver for our elderly and most vulnerable people.
We the Action Group thank all the people for their continued support for the Community Nursing Unit and their support of the campaign to continue care in Stranorlar and the wider Finn Valley and surrounding parishes for years to come. We also thank those in the Media for their coverage and local businesses/organisations who have shown great support.
Save Our St Joseph’s Hospital Action Group is in this until we succeed and we will continue the campaign to save the services, save the beds and restore St Joseph’s Community Hospital with the full complement of staff, long stay, short stay and Dementia beds and our Community Nursing and Residential care units. We will work with those who are genuinely supportive of us and our campaign - as opposed to those who are using us for their own political self-preservation and failing miserably in their role and duty of representing the decent and good people who built our communities and our country. A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation. ~James Freeman Clarke, US theologian and author.