Protest planned for emergency SWAH Council meeting

A NUMBER of events are taking place around the county tonight (Thursday, November 17th) surrounding the threat to SWAH emergency surgery, including an impromptu protest at the Townhall in Enniskillen prior to an emergency council meeting on the crisis.

The community is being encouraged to attend the protest at the Diamond from 6-7pm, with an announcement on the emergency surgery’s future expected this afternoon. More on that below.

Other events include a fundraiser being held by Ennsikillen Running Club at St Michael’s running track at 6.30pm. People can run, jog or walk the 5k. Entry is £5 and all proceeds are going towards the Save Our SWAH Services campaign.


There will also be the launch of MAGS NI (Mothers and Grandmothers Speak NI) at the Church of Ireland Hall in Letterbreen at 7.30pm. This is the launch of an international campaign on the appeal to save SWAH services, and will feature the stories of women and babies who have had their lives saved by the SWAH.

There will also be a community meeting at the Old Gate Hall in Florencecourt at 8pm. This is part of the ongoing series of community meetings taking place around Fermanagh ahead of the major public protest being planned for December 2nd at the Broadmeadow in Enniskillen.

Regarding tonight’s protest, Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh made the plea for support in a video message this morning, in light of the expected announcement this afternoon.

In that appeal he said the community must “stand against[the removal of emergency surgery] because the consequences… for this will be truly dreadful for our community and it will result in the deaths of so many people.”

“We’re going to have to fight, and this is really the start of the fight,” he said.

“There is an emergency meeting of the Council on at 7 o’clock at the Townhall in Enniskillen and I’m asking people to come along to protest ahead of that, any time from 6-7, and you can stay as long as you like. It will be cold but wrap up warm,” he said, adding “we need to get the message out.”

A representative from the Save Our Acute Services campaign group will be addressing the meeting, and representatives from the Western Trust and the Department of Health are expected to address it also.


Cllr O’Cofaigh said tonight’s protest was also about ensuring the Council follows through on its threatened legal action challenging the removal of the service.

“More importantly, the Council has voted for my proposal to take a legal challenge and we need to make sure that actually happens and there is a follow through on that,” he said.

“People power is very important at this stage.

“We need to steady ourselves, because there is a lot of people who will take this as a done deal once this message goes out. What we need to do is recognise this is the very start of our fight.

“This is a fight for our community and it’s a fight for our NHS and we can’t afford to lose that fight.”

The Council meeting will be streamed on the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council YouTube channel tonight from 7pm.

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