[Sinn Fein]

4th July 2003

Birth of child on roadside after pregnant woman forced to travel to Cavan

Government ``totally divorced from reality''

Commenting on the birth of a baby in an ambulance on the roadside after a pregnant woman was forced to travel >from Monaghan Hospital to the maternity unit at Cavan, Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said the incident was another ``damning indictment of the decision-makers who closed the maternity unit at Monaghan''.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``This is but the latest example of the disastrous effect of the closure of the maternity unit at Monaghan. Fortunately no complications arose in this case but if they had done a tragedy could have resulted. This shows the absolute folly of reducing services for expectant mothers, especially in rural Ireland.

``Having repeatedly pressed the Government on this issue, as lately as this week in the Dáil, I can only conclude that they are totally divorced from the reality of people's lives in this region.

``On Thursday in the Dáil Minister of State Brian Lenihan spoke in totally dismissive terms of the campaign in support of Monaghan Hospital and the provision of essential services there. With this contemptuous attitude prevalent in Government circles it is no wonder that the people of this County continue to be treated as second-class citizens in the delivery of health services.''

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