Seanad debates

Thursday, 24 June 2010

10:30 am

Photo of Diarmuid WilsonDiarmuid Wilson (Fianna Fail)

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Áine Brady. After much hard work and effort by the local senior citizen committee and my colleagues the Minister, Deputy Brendan Smith, Deputy Rory O'Hanlon, and local councillor, Mr. Michael McCarey, the health centre in Cootehill was opened in 2002 by the then Minister of State at the Department of Health, Mr. Tom Moffatt. In November 2006 the Darley day care centre opened its doors. This centre provides excellent care for 125 elderly people from within an eight mile radius of Cootehill town and for areas such as Latton in County Monaghan, Bunoe, Kill, Drung, Tullyvin, Knockbride, Maudabawn and Shercock in County Cavan.

Last Monday night, with Oireachtas colleagues and local councillors, I attended a public meeting at which more than 250 users of the service and their families were also present. Concern was voiced regarding a proposal by the HSE to change the way the services were delivered in the Cootehill centre and throughout Counties Cavan and Monaghan.

The company which provides the management of the Darley centre has been given notice by the HSE that its contract will end on 1 September. This has caused unnecessary concern and anxiety to the elderly people who have benefited so much from the very positive experience they have gained from their weekly attendance at the Darley centre.

I understand the HSE is considering the possibility of renting premises with a view to extending the provision of primary care in Cootehill. I very much welcome this proposal which would see the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas availing of occupational therapists, speech therapists and physiotherapists. I also welcome the fact that administrative staff would also be based in these premises in Cootehill. However, it is not necessary to move the Darley day-care centre from its purpose built facilities. It is not necessary to fragment the service its users are provided with on a weekly basis. One cannot fragment a service without affecting it.

I pay tribute to the hard working voluntary committee in Cootehill which provides much needed services to the people in the area. I also pay tribute to the local councillors, namely Councillors Michael McCarey, Sean Igoe and Don Smith, who work with the people and deal with their concerns. I assure the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas that I, with my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Brendan Smith, and other Oireachtas colleagues, will do everything in our power to ensure services are maintained in the premises in Cootehill from which they are run. We will also pursue the expansion of primary care services in Cootehill.


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