Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin TD for Louth, challenged the Taoiseach during Leaders Questions on Tuesday regarding the provision of a Primary Care Centre for Dundalk and the allocation of resources for the mental health service at the Ladywell facility at the Louth Hospital, Dundalk.
Commenting on Budget 2017’s allocation of funding for health Gerry Adams was especially scathing of the failure of the government to provide sufficient funding for mental health services.
Teachta Adams said:
“Last week I visited the Ladywell mental health facility in Dundalk which provides services for much of North Louth.
“The staff are very dedicated but the conditions in which they are forced to treat patients is entirely unsuitable.
“Rooms in the Ladywell Centre originally served as staff accommodation when the hospital was constructed over 70 years ago. They are inappropriate for patients and staff and numerous offices are closed due to dampness.
“The maintenance bill for roof repairs is a constant drain on resources and patients and staff also utilise a series of prefabs which are at the end of their usefulness.
“Staff recently added to the mental health team in North Louth do not have any suitable premises so they work out of St. Brigid’s in Ardee, with patients as far away as Carlingford having to make their own way to appointments. This is totally unacceptable.
“In May the European Investment Bank cleared a €70m loan to build fourteen new primary care centres.
“The construction of a primary care centre in the Dundalk region would facilitate the provision of mental health and other services to enable holistic treatment of patients at one location.
“However there is no primary care centre scheduled for the North East despite this area having some of the highest indices of deprivation and social isolation in the State.
“Two weeks ago Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil rejected a Sinn Féin motion to provide €20 million for 24/7 care for those in need of treatment for mental health issues. Instead the government decided to amend the Capital Acquisitions Tax providing an unnecessary windfall to some two thousand people each year at a cost of €20 million.
“The Government talks a lot about the shift to primary care, it’s time to turn words into actions and deliver a primary care centre in Dundalk.”