Roscommon South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten seems certain to lose the party whip after he voted against the Government in a vote on health services last night (Wednesday). The Fine Gael TD voted in favour of a Sinn Fein motion calling for the retention of A&E services at Roscommon Hospital.
The Government easily defeated the motion but Deputy Naughten caused surprise by voting against his Government, becoming the first rebel TD of the new Dail.
Meanwhile Deputy Naughten’s constituency colleague Frank Feighan voted in favour of the motion but apologised in the Dail for being unable to live up to his pre-election commitment to the hospital. He also raised eyebrows with his sharp criticism of fellow Roscommon South Leitrim TD Ming Flanagan who he called “a political thug”. Speaking on local radio yesterday, Deputy Feighan said he had received a number of threats including a death threat over his decision to vote with the Government.
Earlier yesterday Deputy Feighan had to run the gauntlet of angry protestors as he made his way to the Dail. Busloads of demonstrators descended on Leinster House to protest at the closure of the key services, including the reduction of A&E hours, at Roscommon Hospital. The HSE has confirmed that the Emergency Department at Roscommon Hospital will close from July 11 and will be replaced by an Urgent Care Centre open from from 8am to 8pm.