an organisation we in the GAA owe a debt of
gratitude to the Downe hospital for its contribution
both to health and employment in this area.
GAA players and officials down the years have
accessed the Downe hospital frequently, and
the importance of being able to access hospital
services locally can not be underestimated.
The GAA is still mainly a rural organisation,
and the recent pattern of loss or downgrading
of a wide variety of services in rural areas
has implications not only for health, but for
employment, and sustaining the rural population.
In the Downe hospital catchment
area, there are more than 30 schools, and over
25 clubs organising football, hurling, camogie
and handball, providing sporting and cultural
activities for in excess of 5,000 males and
females. Our county teams also tend to train
and play within the Downe catchment area. With
all this activity in contact sports local GAA
members have had to visit the Downe Accident
& Emergency departments and Fracture Clinics
all too often. In addition the recent publicity
surrounding cardiac events and collapse at sports
events highlights the need for locally accessible
acute medical care.
Like all local sporting organisations
Down GAA is indebted to the Downe Hospital and
its staff for the care they provide for our
members. As an organisation which historically
has always been prominent in rural communities,
we feel we have a responsibility to resist any
dilution of services to rural areas and insist
on optimal health care for our members.