[Sinn Fein]

2nd October 2002

Taoiseach's Department attempt to thwart Monaghan General Hospital Protest

Shelter removed by Dublin City Council officials

A small temporary shelter for people maintaining a fast and vigil outside Government Buildings was removed by Dublin City Council officials this morning. The move was described by Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as an attempt by the Taoiseach's Department to thwart a peaceful and dignified protest in support of Monaghan General Hospital. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``At 11.30am a Dublin City Council crew arrived and took away the small temporary shelter which those on the bread and water fast and vigil have been using at night. I know for a fact that on Tuesday an attempt was made by the Department of the Taoiseach to have this shelter removed under Public Order legislation. This did not succeed.

``I have no doubt that the Taoiseach's Department then complained to Dublin City Council in order to find a means of removing what for them is a highly embarrassing protest. The shelter has now been removed, leaving the protesters without cover from the rain at night.

``The protest has received tremendous support from the general public. It creates no obstruction of any kind either to pedestrians on the footpath or to people entering and leaving Government Buildings.

``This is simply a blatant attempt on the part of the Department of the Taoiseach to thwart this vigil in support of Monaghan General Hospital. Having presided over the scandalous loss of services and downgrading of our hospital, the Government refuses to face up to its responsibilities. In contrast they have acted speedily against this protest.

``This protest will be maintained as planned until 28 October and no behind-the-door efforts to remove it will be allowed to succeed.''

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