AN ESTIMATED 11,000 people took to the streets of Limerick city today to protest conditions and overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.
In a display of force, the people of Limerick and the greater Mid West area marched from City Hall on Merchant’s Quay, through O’Connell Street, Mallow Street, and Henry Street, before finishing with a rally at Arthur’s Quay Park, where a number of speakers addressed the riled up crowd.
Speaking at the rally, Mid West Hospital Campaign (MWHC) committee member Mary Cahillane quoted trolley numbers from the last few weeks and waiting lists numbers at UHL to a livid crowd in the city centre park.
“Zero is the number of hours we have left for talking. We need action,” she said.
Campaign co-ordinator Noleen Moran said that hospital management had asked people over the winter months to “consider other options instead of going to the ED. What other options? People with no other option flooded into UHL ED.”
Ger Kennedy, Health Sector Organiser with SIPTU, said “we represent workers who, every day, put their lives and the health of their families on the line and during the pandemic some paid the ultimate price”.
“Yet they do not have the support of the HSE to provide the service they want to provide to the people of the Mid West.”
Mike Daly, who organised the protest in co-operation with the MWHC, thanked those who came out.
Speaking about the decision to close the ED facilities at St John’s, Ennis, and Nenagh, he said: “If they don’t review their decision, this protest is not the end. It is only the beginning.”
“Our elderly deserve better than to lie on cold, hard trolleys. Our young people deserve to not die.”