A Donegal priest has called for the resignation of Junior Health Minister Jim Daly over the ongoing controversy surrounding the retention of three of the county's community hospitals.

The futures of St Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar along with Ramelton and Lifford Community Hospitals have been in doubt since the announcement two years ago that a new 121 room long-stay facility would be built in Letterkenny to replace existing three hospitals.

The announcement sparked a wave of anger and protests amongst local residents.

However Donegal priest Fr John Joe Duffy, who is heavily involved in the campaign to retain the services at St Joseph's has now called on Junior Minister John Daly to resign.

Fr Duffy slammed the Minister for having no plans for the futures of the three hospitals.

Speaking to Donegal Now Fr Duffy said: "The reality is Junior Minister Daly’s incompetence in relation to the ongoing Community hospitals' crisis in Co. Donegal is seriously concerning and frighteningly worrying but it is no different to the overall incompetence and ineptitude of this entire Government to Health matters and more particularly to health matters concerning the elderly and those living in rural areas especially.

"This Government has consistently failed those living on the margins within our country - record homelessness, record numbers awaiting treatments in our hospitals, record waiting lists for social houses, record poverty levels, especially child poverty - every record for the marginalised has been twice if not three times smashed by this Government but alas does the Dublin 4 focused media care? Perhaps not, but we here in Donegal do care and we will continue to care."

"On the 1st August 2017 last, Junior Minister Daly went on a local radio news programme to deliver a sound bite in what was a bizarre and unprecedented move in the history of the state to confirm that an answer given to a Dáil question over future of three community hospitals in Donegal was the wrong one, it was inaccurate maybe even the information was outdated - it was a latter day Sir Humphrey moment in politics.

"This was in response to a question tabled the previous week by Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher, where in Dail Eireann Minister Daly said the proposed nursing unit in Letterkenny would replace existing long-stay accommodation provided at St Joseph’s in Stranorlar, and Ramelton and Lifford Community Hospitals."

Fr Duffy claimed that the Minister had attempted to 'hoodwink' the people of Donegal and for not addressing his statement to the Dáil.

In a recent answer to a parliamentary question submitted by Donegal TD Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher two weeks ago, the Minister confirmed that that there are no plans in place for the future of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Ramelton or Lifford as Community Nursing units for long stay residential and dementia care.

Fr Duffy concluded by saying: "Junior Minister Daly attempted not only to hoodwink the people of Donegal with sound bites and another overdose of political spin.

"I now believe the Minister of State is an embarrassment once again to his Government and moreover to himself - gone is the day when we the people will listen to empty political tripe spouting out from an empty vessel and especially one that knows no greater good than saving his political career only.

"It is time Minister Daly you took a decision that made a real contribution to Irish society - be gone with you, for you can no longer do this state any good or service."

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