A call has been made to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence TD Alan Shatter to meet with representaives of the 482 families affected by the December closure of a walk-in medical service in place in the Curragh Camp since the 1970’s.
“We want the Minister to meet with us in person,” said spokesperson Tina Whyte. “We have written to the Minister and we will continue to protest until he acknowleges our plight and meets with us.”
The Curragh Families Clinic, which was used by 1,131 patients in 2012 at a cost of €150,000 per year, dates ‘back to a time when all families of enlisted personnel received medical services under regulations’.
According to the Defence Forces the entitlement to medical services, including free GP and pharmacy services, for military families was formally removed from Regulations in 1987. However, the Curragh Families Clinic was retained because of the difficulty in obtaining GP or pharmacy services in the Curragh area at the time, which is no longer the case.
A protest was held outside Aras Chill Dara on Monday, October 21 against the closure of the walk-in medical service described as a ‘historical hangover’ by the Defence Forces.
Protestors, made up of wives, partners, family and friends of soilders in the Curragh, appealed to local councillors for their support in their request to the Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, to overturn the decision.
“A lot of people have ongoing medical issues,” said Ann Byrne. “What happens to them after December? You don’t stop being sick.”
Fellow protestor Tina White said they can’t take any more cuts.
“Our husbands can’t take any more,” she said. “This is a push too far.”