Catherine Connolly TD criticises lack of vision on the part of HSE and Government with regard to Clifden District Hospital. Press Release – 12th March 2024

Deputy Catherine Connolly fully supports the people of Clifden and surrounding areas in their call for the retention and full operation of Clifden District Hospital. Unfortunately, this hospital has been under constant threat of closure for over 2 years now, with a variety of reasons given for the threatened closure, including staffing levels, an alleged lack of demand, and a union dispute.

Deputy Connolly has raised this matter consistently in the Dáil, with the most recent occasion being last week. In response to Deputy Connolly’s topical issue, in which she raised the recent closure of the hospital, the Minister of State honestly admitted that she herself had not been made aware of it. Not only had the HSE failed to inform local TDs of the intention to close, but they did not inform the Minister.

Deputy Connolly said that what is needed most is clarity and vision from HSE West. The necessity for the hospital has been clearly articulated, not just by local residents but by the GPs and nursing staff in the area. Indeed, the medical personnel have gone out on a limb to highlight the urgent need not only for respite beds, but for step down facilities and other essential medical services. Moreover, it has been repeatedly pointed out that a fully resourced district hospital in Clifden would alleviate the ongoing pressure on University Hospital Galway.

In response to queries regarding Clifden District Hospital, the HSE points to plans for the new 40-bed unit in St Anne’s community nursing unit as the solution. However, as Deputy Connolly highlighted, a nursing home focuses on long-term residential care rather than respite or step-down care. One is not a substitute for the other.

It is simply incredible to expect people to make a 150 km, or 3-hour, round trip in and out of Galway to access essential hospital services that could be provided locally, said Deputy Connolly. If the Government is committed to implementing Sláintecare and Balanced Regional Development, it must urgently confirm that the vision and service plan of the HSE includes the retention and full operation of the district hospital in Clifden.


4 Commerce House, Flood Street, Galway.
Tel: 091-567870
Dublin Office Tel: 01-6184411