More than 1,000 people attended a meeting yesterday amid speculation that the emergency department in Portlaoise Hospital may be downgraded.
A draft plan for the hospital has been submitted by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
It is believed the plan outlines how the hospitals A&E will no longer operate 24 hours a day.
Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming says it would be a big blow for the area: “Portlaoise A&E department had about 40,000 people attending last year.
“It is the single busiest A&E department outside of the cities in Ireland.
“It makes no sense to curtail the service whatsoever.
“If you curtail it to a 9-5pm service you won’t have an A&E department for the busy maternity unit I have already spoken about at night-time or the very busy paediatric unit.”