Job losses loom for Mount Carmel staff

by Gazette Reporter
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Trade union SIPTU fears that some of the 328 staff at Churchtown’s Mount Carmel Hospital, which is to close soon, will be out of a job by the end of January.
This follows the appointment of provisional liquidators to Mount Carmel Medical Group Limited by the High Court on Friday, January 24, following a petition by the company’s directors.
SIPTU organiser Kevin Figgis told The Gazette after a meeting with provisional liquidators RSM Farrell Grant Sparks on Tuesday, January 29: “The meeting started at 3pm, went on until 9pm and we were told that any staff working beyond the end of the month will be paid, which suggests to us that some staff will not be required beyond Friday [January 31].
“Another meeting on January 30 will offer a scheduled list of redundancies and how they will be effected.
“We were told at the Tuesday meeting that the last elective surgery discharge would be on Friday, and the irony is that this will be a public patient as the hospital has been liaising with the HSE to accept public patients where there are no other public beds available.
“This is even though the Minister of Health [James Reilly] and his Department are saying they have no interest in taking on Mount Carmel because it’s a private hospital.
“Staff are now looking down the barrel of redundancies which will come from the central government insolvency fund.
“This could take many months for staff so we have advised Minister for Justice [Alan] Shatter, who met with around 200 staff after the meeting, to liaise with his colleague Minister [for Social Protection] Joan Burton to ensure the redundancies are streamlined.
“However, we are urging NAMA to explore every opportunity to keep this viable hospital open.”
Local reaction among councillors and residents to the hospital’s closure was one of sadness as it has served generations of mothers since 1949 and delivered around 1,200 babies each year; a total of approximately 78,000.
A spokesperson for the liquidator RSM Farrell Grant Sparks said: “All current patients in the hospital will be fully cared for in Mount Carmel. Obstetrics patients scheduled over the coming days will also be fully cared for in Mount Carmel. All of these patients will be contacted by phone to confirm these arrangements.
“The joint provisional liquidators will liaise closely with the hospital’s medical consultants and hospital management to ascertain the position in relation to any deposits that may be outstanding to patients.”
Cllr Neale Richmond (FG) said: “I was born in the hospital myself while I also worked there for two summers. It is a huge blow to the many staff and the local community.”
Cllr Grace Tallon (Lab) was slightly more optimistic: “I would be hopeful that something can be done to save the hospital even at this late stage.”

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