West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Use of hospital grounds for Loyalist protests is 'totally unacceptable'

Published: 18 January, 2013

Declan Mc Aleer MLA and Cllr Marty Mc Colgan

Declan Mc Aleer MLA and Cllr Marty Mc Colgan

West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer and Cllr Marty Mc Colgan have voiced their concerns at the grounds of Tyrone County Hospital being used as a gathering point for illegal protests resulting in staff and visitors being intimidated.

Mr Mc Aleer has written to the Chief Executive of the Western Trust to convey these concerns, while Cllr Mc Colgan has spoken to Unison, which is the main union for health staff.

According to Mr Mc Aleer, 'In my correspondence to Elaine Way, I stated that Loyalist flag protestors have been using the grounds of the Tyrone County Hospital as a gathering place for illegal protests. I stated that this has become more sinister with at least 1 Trust employee having her car surrounded and being personally threatened along with her young child within the hospital grounds.
'I stressed that the hospital and its associated environs should be a peaceful and neutral place but clearly it is being used by elements intent on creating disruption and tension in the area. I concluded by asking the Trust to inform me of what steps they are taking to secure these grounds and protect staff and service users against threats and intimidation'.
The matter has also been raised with Unison by Cllr Marty Mc Colgan. 'Given that Trust employees have been adversely affected by these protests, I felt it was important to raise the matter with Unison who are the main union representing members of the health profession.
'I spoke to a member of the hospital cleaning staff who told me that the cleaners normally start their shift at 5pm but were forced to come in at 2.30pm on Friday to avoid the protest, and the staff who were unable to do the earlier slot will have to come in on Saturday.

'Unison is well aware of the situation so I am urging all members affected by these protests to contact their union representative immediately. The use of Health Trust property as a gathering point for illegal protests and threats to staff is completely unacceptable so it essential that the Trust takes immediate action to protect their staff and that the unions are kept up to date with events'.