WATCH: Protest at CUH calls for action on overcrowding 

"The staff in the hospitals also need our support, they are desperate for change." 
WATCH: Protest at CUH calls for action on overcrowding 

National Day of Action- Protest at Cork University Hospital from 1-3pm on Saturday as part of a National Campaign, organised by Aontu. Pictures: Larry Cummins

Protesters gathered outside Cork University Hospital’s Emergency Department today as part of the National Hospital Campaign’s Day of Action 

Aontu representatives and members of the public gathered to protest the current overcrowding crisis that is affecting hospitals around the country.

Anna Daly, Cork South Central representative for Aontu, was among many who expressed their frustration as the issue of overcrowding worsens.

“I’m out today because of the situation that we are hearing about constantly over the last few months and years," she said. "Subsequent ministers have been saying for years that this overcrowding issue will be dealt with, but it’s just getting worse. I don’t think there is a family in Cork that hasn’t been affected by this and if they haven’t yet, they will be in time to come.

“I was in there myself recently with someone else and I saw the conditions first hand. 

"The staff are under tremendous pressure to try and deal with this situation, they’re trying to get people into beds. 

"This is not the staff’s fault; the staff are fantastic and I could see that their hearts are breaking for their patients.” 

Glounthaune native Joe Walsh spoke first-hand about the nation’s understaffed and under resourced emergency departments.

“I have personal family experience with the overcrowding in recent times in CUH, as have many of us here," he told The Echo. "I the current situation is a disgrace. 

"The staff in the hospitals also need our support, they are desperate for change. We need to be out here protesting this situation in the public domain." 

Finian Toomey and Becky Kealy of Aontu attending the protest. Picture: Larry Cummins 
Finian Toomey and Becky Kealy of Aontu attending the protest. Picture: Larry Cummins 

Organiser of the demonstration, Becky Kealy, shared this message to passers-by:

“There is unrest and anger because of what is going on in our health service. At present, the overcrowding is putting people’s lives at risk. This is purely down to the Government not funding the service adequately. The constant cuts that our hospitals have been taking year on year, for example, in the last 15 years, the Government has closed down eight A&Es. 

"I just can’t fathom how the HSE can’t join up the dots between hospital overcrowding and shutting down this many A&Es in the last eight years." 

Ms Kealy, Aontu representative for Cork North West, called on the Government to listen to the Irish people and to ensure the safety of the nation.

“What we are asking is for the services to be funded properly, we need the doctors and nurses to be paid properly so that they don’t emigrate. So many have emigrated because they are under enormous stress, they’re not being paid properly, they are understaffed, under resourced and they don’t have the beds. We need to put the people and their lives first,” she said.

Cork continues to experience high numbers of patients waiting on trolleys in emergency departments in CUH and the Mercy University Hospital. 

Protest also took place in other parts of Ireland today, with thousands gathering to march in Limerick. 

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