The Government showed its real intentions last week when they gifted Waterford Regional Hospital to UCC. This swift and dramatic action shows the government is capable of radical reorganisation of institutions in short time frames. It also shows that these changes are not favourable to the people and institutions from the South East.
This is action, in contrast to the Government’s“commitment” to examine placing a university in the South East in the programme for Government, Labour and Fine Gael’s detailed promises at the last election, all the technical reports (Hunt, Port, Goodbody, HEA landscapes, etc...) and the thirty years of campaigning. The UCC takeover of WRH is action, and it is action that shows the Fine Gael/Labour government reneging on its commitments. This new arrangement breaks WRH’s longstanding links to RCSI and WIT; weakening WIT as a research level institution.
It is interesting how UCC captured the South East’s regional hospital. Minister O’Reilly commissioned UCC’s Professor Higgins to undertake an Independent study of Ireland’s hospital groups and his only conclusion of significance was that the South East group be broken up with WRH going to his school at UCC. All this happened despite 15,000 people from the South East marching through Waterford in late 2012. The report was implemented in less than a year. It is very clear that the political vacuüm in the South East continues to have devastating implications.