Public voice fears over future of Newry hospital
Hundreds of members of the public joined politicians and trade unionists at a rally in Newry on Saturday demanding investment to protect services at the troubled Daisy Hill Hospital.
Last month, it emerged that the Accident and Emergency unit may have to close at nights due to crippling staff shortages.
But a plan was put in place to retain the 24-hour service after a massive public outcry.
But Margaret Ritchie, the SDLP's South Down parliamentary candidate and outgoing MP, warned against complacency.
She said that: "It is important to be vigilant and to keep the pressure on the Department of Health and the Southern Health Trust to ensure that this position is sustained."
Sinn Fein Westminster candidate and former Stormont minister Chris Hazzard told protesters that the community deserved a firm commitment to protect and enhance the health services that are available at the Newry hospital.
"Sinn Fein has voiced the concerns of the community to the Trust in several meetings in recent months. This entire area, but especially rural areas, will be placed at a significant disadvantage by the closure or relocation of services at Daisy Hill," he said.