Some of the crowd that packed into the West Cork Hotel

A HUGE crowd of 700 people turned out at the West Cork Hotel on Friday night for a special public meeting organised by Skibbereen Town Council in opposition to proposed changes to ambulance services in West Cork.

Among those attending the packed meeting were local TDs Michael McCarthy and Noel Harrington as well as numerous local councillors.

Skibbereen Mayor Frank Fahy addresses the meeting

Skibbereen Mayor Frank Fahy told attendees that proposals to replace ambulance cover in Skibbereen and Castletownbere with Emergency Response Vehicles after 8pm would have devastating and dangerous implications for ambulance cover across West Cork.

“We are not asleep down here in West Cork,” he said, “and we will not let the HSE get away with this,” which was greeted with thunderous applause.

Ann Cullinane of Clonakilty Town Council said that her members would be passing a motion in support of Skibbereen next week while Pat Lennon of High Street, Skibbereen suggested the group place open letters in the newspapers challenging the Government and the HSE.

Daniel Murphy from Heir Island said the implications of the proposed cuts for islanders was “very worrying indeed” while Ed Harper from Cape Clear said that his community was nine miles off the coast and it took 45 minutes in a lifeboat just to reach the shore, any delays in an ambulance arriving he said, could be disastrous.

Cllr John O’Sullivan from Timoleague who is a member of the Regional Health Forum urged people to build a strong, factual case against the cuts in a “language the HSE can understand”.

He said that West Cork had 12 months before the changes were due to come into force and now was the time to act.

Frank Fahy said the HSE were asked to send a representative to the meeting but they had pulled out at the last minute.

TDs Noel Harrington and Michael McCarthy both pledged their total support for the campaign and pointed out that they had both challenged the Minster for Health in the Dáil on the issue and would continue to do so.

Cllr Dermot Sheehan from Goleen said that the huge turnout proved the people of West Cork are totally against the proposals, “now I know the people are with us,” he said,

To support the campaign join the West Cork Ambulance Service Saved My Life, Let Them Save More Facebook Page.