[Sinn Fein]

16th December 2002

Death of Bronagh Livingstone to be raised at Health Board

``Other tragedies waiting to happen'' - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin will raise the tragic death of baby Bronagh Livingstone at the monthly meeting of the North Eastern Health Board in Kells tomorrow (Tuesday, 2.30pm). As a member of the Health Board, Deputy Ó Caoláin has consistently opposed the downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital and has been prominent in the campaign for the restoration of the Maternity Unit and other lost services.

Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin said it was ``appalling'' that it took the death of a child for the situation at Monaghan General Hospital to get the national attention it deserved. He said:

``Tomorrow's meeting of the North Eastern Health Board comes a week after the tragic death of Bronagh Livingstone. People throughout the region and throughout the country will be looking to the Board for answers and for guarantees that the situation which brought about this tragedy will not be allowed to continue. I will be raising the issue and will demand the restoration of the Monaghan Maternity Unit with full staffing, as I and the other representatives from Co. Monaghan have consistently been doing since its closure at the start of 2001.

``We have seen one tragedy too many. But other tragedies are waiting to happen. Accident and Emergency cover is no longer being provided at Monaghan and lives are in danger as a result. We have been attempting to highlight this for many months but little media interest was shown at national level. It is appalling that it took the death of a child to bring this issue to national prominence.

``The Monaghan members of the Board have been incensed by the determination of the Board's Executive to push forward with a strategy which has reduced Monaghan General Hospital to the level of a glorified health centre. That situation must not continue and the Executive and the Minister for Health and Children Micheal Martin must change their policy.''

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