Seanad debates

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Healthcare Infrastructure Provision

10:30 am

Photo of Eugene MurphyEugene Murphy (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoirleach as an ábhar seo a chur ar an gclár oibre inniu. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit go dtí an Teach. I wish to speak briefly today about two very important projects in the Galway-Roscommon region in relation to our health service. One is the building that is now being built at Portiuncula hHspital.If I am not mistaken, it received planning permission in 2017. The building is badly needed for patient accommodation.

The second project is at the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon. The Minister of State has often spoken up for it. The hospital has been an important part of our health services for many years. The Government has given the go-ahead for a 50-bed unit there.

I will once again pay tribute to the staff of both hospitals. We must acknowledge that hospitals must still be alert and careful because Covid can, unfortunately, come and go. I hope that it is coming to an end.

I am asking for an update on both projects. I understand that the deadline for opening at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe is mid-summer. Is it on schedule? Planning permission has been extended. Once completed, will there be a quick opening date? The Minister of State and I will accept that the hospital's staff have been working in terrible conditions. In that regard, I express my thanks to the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, the Minister of State, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, who visited us and pushed this project on when he was the Minister for Health, and the Minister of State with responsibility for older people, Deputy Butler. Without doubt, their support has been vital.

Considerable work has been done on the Sacred Heart Hospital project. I acknowledge not only the Government's support for the project in this year's budget, but the Minister of State's support through the years. I understand that a planning application for the project was to be submitted to Roscommon County Council in December but it has not arrived. I have no reason to believe there is any problem or that the project has been delayed. It may just be a matter of Covid holding things up. I look forward to the planning application being put before Roscommon County Council in the near future.

Clarification on these two projects would be welcome. I thank the Minister of State for attending the House to deal with my queries.


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