The following statement was read out by retired councillor Bill Corry on behalf of Cadogan Enright at the recent South Eastern Health and Social Care Trusts Board Meeting.

At the outset I wish to apologise most sincerely for my non-attendance at the Trust Board meeting today on account of an urgent and unavoidable family matter.

My contribution this morning is very brief as the arguments on this issue are well rehearsed. Sadly I do not believe that this trust has actually listened to the community, its representatives and the medical practitioners who serve it.

The sad reality is now that the only group standing between the proposed changes which would be disastrous for our community is the Non-executive directors in this board.

The non-executive directors have a particular responsibility to this community which they have been chosen to represent. Accordingly, it is their duty now to vote against any reduction of services in Down District.

If the Trust chooses to proceed with these ill-advised and ill-conceived proposals, that will not be the end of the matter. We shall continue to fight using all the means at our disposal for the retention of local services.

There is a wide-spread perception in our community, that after a rubber-stamping exercise today, a further rubber-stamp will be applied tomorrow, and then a ministerial rubber-stamp will follow from the UUP Minister McGimpsey.

Those politicians who choose to strip services from this area can expect to pay a heavy price in the next Assembly elections. I will continue to fight these proposals until they are fully reversed, and the original plan for the hospital implemented in full.

By Cadogan