SIGNS HIGHLIGHTING the lack of emergency medical services in the county have been dubbed “depressing” by adjudicators in this year’s Tidy Towns competition, who cautioned that they may deter visitors from coming to the county.
Adjudicators highlighted the extensive signage relating to the campaign for the restoration of accident and emergency services at Roscommon County Hospital across the county and in particular in the Roscommon Town area.
The judges said that the signs, which could be seen at every turn, were “depressing” for visitors.
“One issue we have noted throughout the county and particularly in Roscommon Town itself are all the notices about the Roscommon hospital situation and the critical nature of the lack of A and E facility. Whereas these are obviously effective, there are quite depressing for a visitor to witness constantly ‘at every hands turn’,” the tidy towns adjudicators said in their report.
“They might even deter the older generation from visiting your region – were they to start worrying about becoming ill on holiday!”they added.
The judges noted that they did not mark Roscommon Town negatively because of the signs but said that the issue was something that the community would have to resolve itself.
Responding to the comments made by the judges, Hospital Action Committee Chairman John McDermott told the Heraldon Monday that campaigners were supportive of the Tidy Towns initiative, but that they had no intention of taking down signs.
Mr McDermott stressed that the vast majority of hospital signs had been purchased by individuals and groups through the hospital alliance and were not erected by the HAC.
“We appreciate that people may be depressed when they see these signs but that doesn’t compare to the fact that people are losing their lives because we do not have adequate hospital emergency services here. People have lost their lives on the road because we no longer have accident and emergency services,” Mr McDermott said.
“It is not just depressing for people who visit; it is depressing for the people who live in County Roscommon because we don’t have basic emergency services. That reality is depressing not just the signs,” he added.
Mr McDermott confirmed that some signs had been temporarily taken down while the Tidy Towns adjudication was taking place but he stressed that there was no animosity between the groups over the signs.