THERE was a massive turnout at a public meeting on Saturday evening which was held as part of the campaign to save Arranmore Island’s public health nurse service.
The meeting which was called as a result of representations from the community to the island’s development co-op, and was held in the local community hall, seen up to half of the islands adult population gather to discuss the recent news that the HSE is to replace the public health service nurse to the island and is also to reduce the services the replacement provides as well as hours available.
Chaired by local man Jerry Early, chairman of Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhór, the island’s development co-op, the meeting seen a lively and frank debate by all who attended, with the turnout being testimony to the concern the people of the Arranmore have at the loss of service which is due to come into effect before the end of the month. During the discussions concern for the welfare of both the elderly and young was very evident and all who spoke were strongly opposed to the HSE’s decision.
Speaking after the meeting Jerry Early said that it was strong indication of the opposition there is of the HSE’s plans and that the campaign to fight to keep the service as it is would be stepped up.
“Arranmore Island has had this service since 1907 and it has been and remains vital to the people of the island. We will in no way accept a reduction in this service and we plan to fight tooth and nail to keep it as it currently is,” Mr Early said.
“This turnout we have seen shows how important the service is and this reduction in service will be felt by everyone. Both young children and the elderly will suffer if this plan goes ahead as will many others including people in our community with physical disabilities and mental health issues. The island population can swell to over 1000 at certain times of the year and to not have adequate healthcare support for the island is simply not acceptable.
“The island has decided to form a committee made up of people representing community representatives, mothers, fathers, carers and the those with a healthcare background to fight the HSE’s cutback. We plan to use all available means to gather support and as well as face to face meetings, such as the one planned with local TD’s on the island on Monday morning, we will also be building an online campaign of support.
“Arranmore Island is a massive community spread far and wide and already we are gathering huge support for our campaign. The HSE should know we will not take this lying down and we plan to keep moving forward to achieve our goal.”