Louth TD Gerry Adams has strongly criticised the Minister for Health, the HSE and the Department of Health providing “contradictory, confused, and conflicting” information about the Dundalk Primary Care Centre. He said: “Incompetence has been a mark of this government. Such incompetence leaves the most vulnerable in our society behind. The lack of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services CAMHS for the young people of north Louth is totally unacceptable”.
In correspondence last week the HSE told Mr. Adams that the provision of Dundalk Primary Care Centre is under review and has consequently been delayed.
Teachta Adams said:
“There are no Child and Adolescent Mental Health services CAMHS in north Louth. Children who need CAMHS have to travel to Drogheda for services. I have visited the Day Care Centre at Ladywell in Dundalk and despite the best efforts of the staff the facilities are not fit for purpose. It is impossible to deliver proper, effective community mental health services from a facility which is old and decrepit and not fit for purpose.
A new Primary Care Centre for Dundalk was first announced in 2008 when the HSE advertised for expressions of interest to develop a centre. Ten years later not a brick has been laid.
In November 2016 I was told that the operational lease process for the primary care centre would be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
In August 2018, the HSE stated that the planning application would be submitted by the end of 2018; that work would commence in 2019; and the centre would be open early in 2020.
Last week I was told by David Walsh, the National Director of Community Operations, that Disability Services are now “seeking space in the Primary Care Centre”.
While I welcome this why on earth was it not part of the original plan?
Mr. Walsh added: “This has resulted in a requirement to review the project … this has resulted in a delay … the new updated proposal will require additional approval from the HSE Property Resource Group”.
Last Friday, two days later, I received a letter from Minister Harris which makes no mention of disability services. Nor does he mention the need to review the project. Nor does he state that the project will be delayed.
It would appear that Minister Harris does not know what is happening with Dundalk Primary Care Centre. Incompetence has been a mark of this government. Such incompetence leaves the most vulnerable in our society behind. The lack of lack of Child and Adolescent Mental Health services CAMHS for the young people of north Louth is totally unacceptable”.
Teachta Adams asked Minister Byrne what is the current timeline for the design stage of Dundalk Primary Care Centre; how long will the review take; what are the cost implications; will a new letter of intent be required and does this mean that a new process of identifying a preferred applicant must be undertaken; when will construction commence and what is the expected opening date now for Dundalk Primary Care Centre?
Minister Byrne accepted that she should have simply said that she doesn’t know. She said she would raise the matter with Minister Harris.
Gerry Adams TD has now written to the Minister.