Eoin Murphy

Hunger strike ends: Sean Brett (left) and his brother Ray outside St Patrick’s Hospital on Thursday. | Photo: Eoin Murphy

The St Patrick’s Hospital hunger striker, Sean Brett, broke his fast and ended his protest on Wednesday afternoon much to the relief of his family, friends and supporters.

It is understood Mr Brett is receiving medical advice on how he should deal with the retaking of solid food after an abstinence of over a week. Confirming his decision to The Munster Express, Mr Brett said he would not be commenting further until he spoke at a rally organised for the city tomorrow, Saturday. However, Mr Brett said he did want to acknowledge the courtesy shown to him by the staff and patients at St Patrick’s and the assistance given to him by his solicitor, Willie Cullen, and his advisor and friend, Councillor Davy Walsh.

Court order

Objecting to the closure of St Brigid’s Ward in the hospital, where his mother is a patient, Mr Brett was in Wexford Circuit Court on Tuesday, represented by solicitor Willie Cullen and barrister Aine Hegarty. A number of Mandatory Orders and a Prohibitive Order were granted to the HSE by Judge Olive Buttimer in relation to Mr Brett’s action.

Moving the injunction application on behalf of the HSE, Ms Sarah Phelan, BL, said the matter had been transferred from Waterford to the Wexford list. As well as seeking Mandatory Orders and a Prohibitive Order, the HSE had signed undertakings to hand into court regarding various undertakings. As a result, she would be applying to have the matter adjourned generally with liberty to re-enter.

Defence Counsel, Ms Hegarty, BL, said they agreed with the undertakings handed into court and Judge Buttimer granted the HSE application on the basis of those undertakings.


The court gave Mr Brett special hours to visit the hospital but would not allow him to stay overnight which he was previously able to do. The court did permit him to visit the hospital with his brother Ray for two hours in the afternoons from 2.30 to 4.30pm and from 7 to 9pm in the evenings. A condition laid down by the Court was that he visit the hospital with his brother and be accompanied while he was on his fast. Now that Mr Brett has given up his hunger strike, he will be permitted to visit for longer and to stay overnight as he has done in the past.

As we went to press, Mr Brett was still hoping to meet Mr Pat Healy the chief executive officer of HSE South to see if the closure decision for St Brigid’s Ward coud be reversed.

Organised by the WCTU, tomorrow’s protest march against the decision to close St. Brigid’s Ward will start at the HSE Community Care Building on the Cork Road at 2.15pm. The march will go to the Quay and then to John Roberts Square where there will be some speeches.