Wexford Sinn Féin has welcomed the announcement that the vital extension project at Wexford General Hospital will now go ahead this year after missing funding was apparently located.
Shortly after entering government, the coalition announced that a much needed upgrade was to finally go ahead at WGH, featuring a new A&E and obstetrics unit. This project was to cost €21 million and according to a high level Wexford Labour Minister at the time, the funding was secure. Two days later it was revealed that this funding was missing.
Wexford Sinn Féin immediately began a campaign to get to the bottom of what happened to this missing funding. It seemed that other groups such as Wexford Labour and the Wexford Hospital Alliance group were also planning investigations. This never materialised and their silence was deafening.
When SF Cllr Anthony Kelly placed a motion before Wexford Borough Council calling for an investigation into what had happened to the missing funds, it was voted down by Fine Gael and Labour Councillors. Minister Howlin appeared on local radio and stated that it was his view that the money had never existed. One local Labour Cllr blamed Fianna Fail. Another blamed the HSE. We were half expecting them to blame the IRA.
When Wexford Sinn Féin protested outside Wexford General demanding answers over the missing €21 million, other groups stayed away. Some of them implied that we were being silly and that it was clear that funding for the hospital did not exist. Our prominent Labour Minister stated that Wexford SF were only good for giving out and that it was obvious that the €21 million had never been there. When we asked why he hadnt checked its availability before giddily announcing the project on local radio like an excited school girl, he was once again silent.
Yesterday our prominent Labour Minister announced that funding was available for the hospital project. Wexford Sinn Féin fully welcomes the announcement and takes pride that our councillors and members played a significant role in 'locating' the missing hospital funds.