THE Health Service Executive has said the pavement outside the Mid Western Regional Hospital is cleaned “seven days a week” - depsite claims that cigarette butts are not being removed.
A spokesperson for the Executive has rejected a claim by councillor Richard Butler that it has “abdicated” its responsibilities over litter caused from smoking - pointing out that they spend €3m a year on cleaning services.
The HSE was responding to a claim made by Cllr Butler, who is upset at the increase in litter outside the hospital.
He urged Limerick County Council to serve enforcement notices on the HSE in order to get management at the hospital to clean up.
This came after the HSE moved to outlaw smoking on hospital grounds, which caused an outcry among patients.
However, in a statement, the HSE has said it is not their fault if its patients choose to litter the streets outside.
“The Mid Western Regional Hospital has not abdicated its responsibilities either with regard to implementing a smoke free policy to benefit the health of patients, visitors and staff or in cleaning up the butts and other litter discarded by a minority,” the statement read.
However, the HSE declined to apportion blame, stating: “The hospital believes it is fundamentally a matter of personal responsibility and, unfortunately, many people continue to show a lack of civic pride and this can be seen in many different ways in different parts of the city and county.”
For its part, the hospital carries out clean ups, with a spokesman adding: “Now we have to consider increasing the number of clean ups and how we can afford to do this when, like every other hospital in the country, our resources are limited and we must concentrate on front line care to patients.”
With a spend of €3m a year, the spokesman said: “Dealing with litter comes at a high cost and those who throw cigarette ends and other litter around are showing a lack of civic pride and patriotism.”