About 4,000 people have attended a protest march and rally in Sligo calling for the retention and improvement of cancer services at Sligo General Hospital.

The organisers say they are buoyed by the turnout and now intend to intensify the campaign.

People marched from Sligo Institute of Technology to O'Connell Street for the rally and concert with leading artists including Dervish lending their support.

The aim of the march is to send a message to Government that people in the northwest will not stand for the removal of cancer services already in existence in Sligo General.

Protestors are complaining that under the National Cancer Strategy there will be no centre of excellence for cancer care north of a line from Galway to Dublin.

This means that very ill people will be forced to travel lengthy journeys to Dublin or Galway for their treatment, organisers say.

The move would have a major impact on people in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon, they add.