Sinn Féin - On Your Side

MP to meet with Health Trust over major doubt over Day Centres

7 January, 2008

Sinn Féin Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy has written to the Southern Area Health Trust requesting an urgent meeting to discuss concerns in relation to the proposed new Day Centres in Newry and Crossmaglen.

Mr Murphy said:

"As far back as June 2005 the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety approved business cases for two new 40 place Day Care Centres, one in Newry and one in Crossmaglen.

"It was accepted that the existing services would be replaced. I have now learnt that these much needed new and modern facilities have been effectively put on hold because of what the Department state are 'difficulties with design identification of a suitable site in Crossmaglen and specifically due to delays in securing appropriate planning permission for the Newry site'. I am now informed that as a direct result the projected costs have risen from £6 million pounds to nearly £10 million pounds!

"At the time both the local Slieve Gullion Councillor Terry Hearty and myself approached the Trust and stated that we were prepared to work with them as local representatives to help identify a site for the Crossmaglen Centre. The Trust never took up that offer. My colleague Councillor Brendan Curran ensured the issue of the new 40 place Newry Day Centre was supported by Newry and Mourne Council, and the Council offered all practical support available to help progress the project. Again it seems that practical Council help and support has not been availed of.

"I share the disappointment of all those who relied on the Centres. There is no chance at all of moving these Centres on until the site and planning issues have been resolved. Then, the issue of funding also comes into play. Many feel that despite the commitment made by the Trust to provide these Day Care Centres, they are now in major doubt. Along with Councillors Hearty and Curran, I will be meeting with the Trust to discuss the problems and to ensure that these much needed day Care Centres are placed firmly back on their agenda." ENDS

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