There are plans for the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) to be surrounded by hundreds of concerned Fermanagh citizens as they gather in support of staff this weekend.

The 'ring of steel' event has been organised by the Save Our Acute Services group, and will take place on Saturday afternoon. It is intended that the gathering of people will be seen as a sign of staunch support for the SWAH's staff and services.

Organiser Dylan Quinn said: “We have 500 or so people who have acknowledged the event and that it is happening, and 180 are marked as attending. However, some people will obviously bring more than themselves to the gathering.”

Emphasising that it is planned as a peaceful gathering and demonstration, Dylan said: “There is no aim at all to disrupt services – this is a ring of support for staff, and is about reassuring them that we, as a community, are here to support them.”

The organisers are encouraging as many people as possible to attend the peaceful demonstration.

It is understood that the Western Health and Social Care Trust are aware of the planned demonstration at the SWAH.

Gathering at Cross Cemetery at 3pm, those involved will walk to the SWAH and be guided to their place in the 'ring' by stewards. If numbers allow, those gathered will join hands for a few moments to show their support for SWAH staff.

The demonstration will not stop traffic, or block emergency access to the SWAH. Participants will not block emergency exits and the ring will be marshalled by volunteers to allow for SWAH staff and patients to carry on without any obstruction.

Next weekend, the group has also organised a rally at the Broadmeadow in Enniskillen on Friday, December 2 at 7pm. Everyone from across the community is encouraged to attend, with further details on this and other upcoming events available on the Save Our Acute Services Facebook page.

Tonight (Thursday) there will be a meeting in Kesh regarding the campaign, echoing similar meetings held across the county in recent weeks about the SWAH services issue. The meeting will take place in Kesh Community Centre at 8pm.