Adams criticises Health Minister over failure to deliver Primary Care Centre in Dundalk

Local TD Gerry Adams has criticised the Minister for Health for his failure to deliver a new Primary Care Centre in Dundalk.

The Sinn Féin Deputy made the comments following information received this week in response to parliamentary questions tabled by Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD.

It revealed that the promised Primary Care Centre in Dundalk does not feature on a list of centres which are currently operational, under construction or at an advanced planning stage. This is despite Minister Simon Harris making a commitment that the new facility in Dundalk would commence construction this year ahead of a planned opening next year.

He said: “Dundalk Primary Care Centre simply does not feature on a schedule of Primary Care Centres which are currently operational, under construction or at advanced planning stage.

“This is despite the Health Minister informing me in August 2018 that construction work on Dundalk Primary Care Centre would commence in 2019 with an expected opening in 2020.

“I have written to the Minister for Health asking him to urgently clarify the position and to indicate when a new Primary Care Centre, with capacity to facilitate Community Mental Health services, will be delivered in Dundalk.

“In 2006 ‘A Vision for Change’ recommended integration of Community Based Mental Health Services and other Primary Care medical services.

“Mental Health practitioners in Dundalk have been calling for this for the past 10 years, yet successive governments have done nothing

“I first visited the Ladywell Community Mental Health facility in Dundalk in October 2016.

“The current premises, which was originally constructed over 70 years ago as staff quarters for the adjacent Louth County Hospital, is not in any way fit for purpose.

“Because of the conditions at Ladywell there is no Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service or Old Age Psychiatry services available in North Louth.

“The maintenance costs of this premises are a huge drain on the resources of the service

“This is an intolerable position which is wholly inadequate for the people of north Louth and for the mental health staff at Ladywell.

“I have written to the Minister for Health seeking an update on Dundalk Primary Care Centre and to ask him to visit Ladywell to see for himself how unsuitable the premises is,” said Adams.