Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has given a warm welcome to the news that nine of the upstairs beds at Kenmare Community Hospital will finally be open following almost seven years of campaigning.

The €8m, 40-bed Kenmare Community Hospital, opened in 2013 but never beyond 50 percent bed capacity.

However, official confirmation from the HSE sees an additional nine beds opening tomorrow (Monday July 6).

“These beds are much needed by members of our community. I have always been critical of the HSE delaying the opening of these beds but this is a welcome development. So too is the confirmation that more beds will happen in the future,” Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said.

He is also urging the new Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to ensure that promises that were made to nurses across Ireland on pay are followed up on, as “banks don’t accept praise as a form of payment when nurses try to pay their mortgages”.

“Nurses all across Ireland were first up to the battle lines during the COVID crisis, and while it was great to see lines of people clapping their efforts, it is more important for them to be guaranteed the payment promises that were made to them to end the 2019 strike will be fulfilled, especially now in a time of great financial uncertainty.”

Recently it was confirmed to the Oireachtas COVID-19 committee that Ireland had highest rate of infection from Coronavirus of all health workers globally with nurses the highest to contract the virus.

Deputy Healy-Rae also highlighted that catering staff have also been working for 13 years without any pay rise and asked the Minister how much longer that this would continue.