LIMERICK, Ireland Thousands marched in Limerick today to protest what they claim are deteriorating conditions at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
The congregation called for an immediate reversal of the Health Service Executive reconfiguration of the Midwestern hospital system, which has left the region with only one 24/7 emergency department serving a population of over 500,000 people.
For more than a decade, Nenagh, Ennis, and St John's Hospitals have had their A&E departments either fully closed or curtailed, resulting in UHL being inundated, with patients frequently on trolleys for days before being admitted to a bed.
Due to unprecedented levels of severe overcrowding, UHL was forced to declare a "major internal incident" in early January.
Local politicians from all political parties attended as families of people who had "dystopian nightmare" experiences in UHL spoke to the audience about their loved ones.
The Mid-west Hospital Campaign behind the protest is made up of many families who say the care their loved ones received in UHL was inadequate due to the "horrendous conditions."
Melanie Cleary addressed the public about her daughter Eve's death on a trolley at the age of 21 in UHL.
"This is no longer a health crisis; it is a national disaster," Ms. Cleary said, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
The crowd was encouraged to contact all of their local representatives and demand that Limerick's three A&Es be open on a 24/7 basis.