Newry & Armagh Assembly Member Justin McNulty has called on Sinn Féin to clarify their position on the future of Daisy Hill Hospital.
The SDLP MLA was speaking after an announcement of the imminent withdrawal of emergency general surgery from Daisy Hill at a virtual meeting of the Southern Trust Board on Thursday 27th January.
"As the only Newry & Armagh MLA who attended the Trust Board Meeting last Thursday, I was stunned to hear Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd call for "a calm response from politicians" on the plans to dismantle Daisy Hill. The Sinn Féin MLA went on to say that there should be "no knee-jerk reaction" to the news of Emergency Surgery being withdrawn from Daisy Hill, and called on elected representatives to "reflect on what has been told to us today at the board meeting by medical professionals." I was perplexed by this position - no one should need to reflect on a proposal which strips more services from Daisy Hill Hospital.
"My shock turned to confusion when I heard about Sinn Féin's contribution in the Assembly on Monday 31st January, in which they did a complete U-Turn on the issue of Daisy Hill and rowed in behind my position in rejecting the proposals and calling for an expansion of services at Daisy Hill.
"Here's the thing - Sinn Féin can't have it both ways. They can't be complying with the Trust on a Thursday and then singing SDLP solutions on a Monday. They have a choice to make - either they're part of the establishment, or they're on the side of the people. I know where I stand, and that's shoulder to shoulder with the people of Newry, South Armagh & South Down - no strokes, no spin, no ambiguity.
"My door is always open to anyone, anywhere who wants to join the fight and Stand Up For Daisy Hill. This shouldn't be about partisan agendas or what the polls say, this is very simply about fighting for the welfare of our local community and sending a loud, clear message to establishment hacks and all of those in the Belfast bubble - if you want Daisy Hill, you're going to have to prise it from our hands."