WATCH: Major projects in Limerick at risk if Fianna Fail leads next Government, Taoiseach says

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

AN TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has warned that if Fianna Fail returns to government, major capital projects like the M20 and the new 96-bed hospital unit could be in doubt.

The Fine Gael leader was at the Crescent Shopping Centre this Monday, where he took to the canvass with his party's two candidates in the city, Senators Maria Byrne and Kieran O'Donnell.

Referencing a number of other capital projects, Mr Vaadkar said: "We're making the right changes and if we keep the economy styrong, we will see it through. There is a risk if we go back to Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail that the economy will go down again, these proojects which should have been built years ago will be stalled again.

That will be really bad news for the Mid-West."
His visit comes in the wake of a mass protest in the city on Saturday, where people demonstrated against the overcrowding at the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick.

However, speaking to reporters, he appeared to rule out re-opening similar facilitiews in St John's Hospital, Nenagh and Ennis.

"When it comes to where we should have our emergency departments, we always listen to the doctors, and the emergency department consultants. What they say to us is medicine has changed, and the only way to provide top claass medicine is in specialist centres. I think the mistake made here was to centralise everything in Limerick without providing adequare bed capacity in UHL. We have been dealing with that. The wemergenchy department is there. The Leden wing is open. A new 60-bed block will open this year and behind that, another 96 bed block is going to planning. Having said all that, it doesn't mean we cannot make greater use of Ennis, St John's and Nenagh," he said.

Just hours after Micheal Martin canvassed in the Crescent Shopping Centre, Mr Varadkar took aim at Fianna Fail.
He said while his party is pledging €5bn a year in health - much of which is what he described as "new money", Fianna Fail is proposing just €2bn.

"It's strange having listened to Fianna Fail for years give out to us in the Dail about underfunding health and not producing budgets which add up, they've done just that."

Flanked by the two Senators, and the retiring former Finance Minister Michael Noonan, the Taoiaseach praised his two Limerick City candidates

"We are very keen to hold onto our seat here and challenge for a second seat. We've got two really good candidates, two people who have worked very hard in the Seanad and the Dail before that. Io'd love to see them as part of our team in the Dail. Hopefully we will see that happen," he concluded.

The election takes place this Saturday, February 8.