Thousands of people are expected to attend a protest in Monaghan this morning against the planned downgrading of the local hospital.
The demonstration has been arranged to coincide with the arrival of Junior Minister Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher to officially open the town's new bypass.
The organisers say they expected up to 3,000 people to take part and businesses across the county have agreed to close their doors as a mark of solidarity.
The HSE wants to withdraw acute services from Monaghan Hospital as part of a plan to centralise such services in specialised hospitals.
The move has been recommended by a number of experts, but is vehemently opposed by local residents and politicians, who actually want the hospital upgraded to provide more services to the community.