THERE was anger and frustration last week after Corduff was yet again snubbed by the Government in its plans to develop 20 new primary care centres.
It had been eagerly anticipated that Corduff would be included on the list of 35 potential sites for the health facilities given that the local community has been campaigning on the issue for over 30 years.
According to Anne Smith of the Corduff Health Action Group, the Government’s omission of the area from its list of locations “makes no medical or economic sense”.
“The need for a health centre has been identified by the HSE and its predecessors for over 30 years,” she stated.
“We were fully expecting it to be included on the capital programme as promised by the Government.
“They have now reneged on that promise.”
Ms Smith described the project as “shovel-ready” as land earmarked for the development is already in the ownership of the Health Service Executive (HSE).
“The plans and architectural drawings have been complete for over three years,” she stated.
“The tender document is complete. The primary care team have been employed for over three years, but located outside the area, which means that in comparison to other sites there are no new staff or land costs.
“Construction costs are now estimated at just €2 million, which would be significantly less than any other site.”
Ms Smith said the question now is why campaigners and the Corduff community have been let down once again by the Government.
“The people of Corduff have campaigned long and hard for this and want answers, not excuses,” she added.
Four other North Dublin locations were chosen over Corduff - Balbriggan, Coolock, Darndale and Summerhill in the North Inner City.
Local councillor David McGuinness (FF) described his shock and amazement that Corduff had been omitted from the list of potential locations for the primary care centres.
“Corduff Health Centre is ready-to-go and long promised,” he stated.
“Its omission shows Labour and Fine Gael's disregard for the people of Corduff and Mulhuddart.”
Local Sinn Fein activist Paul Donnelly said the Corduff community had fought long and hard for the local health facility.
“Over the years the Corduff Health Action Group have initiated petitions, protested and lobbied all political parties and recently delivered thousands of postcards to Minister Róisín Shortall, who has responsibility for Primary Care Centres,” he stated.
“This group has had many knock-backs over the years.”
On the back of criticism and outrage in his home patch, local TD and Minister for Transport and Tourism, Leo Varadkar, gave an assurance that there would be a “major breakthrough” on the Corduff primary care centre in the near future.
“I understand that the Department of Health has approved the project, and that it’s now waiting for sign-off from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform,” Minister Varadkar stated.
“This long-awaited facility would be of huge benefit to Corduff and the wider area.
“The proposed centre would be a one-stop-shop for health services including GP care and a number of other services. The plan is for a direct-build project by the HSE.”
He added: “There has been a long-running campaign to get the facility built and I’m delighted for Corduff and for the campaigners that we’re close to a breakthrough.”
The list of 35 potential locations for primary care centre was announced last week as part of the Government’s €2 billion stimulus package.
Only 20 facilities will be commissioned, subject to agreement between local doctors and the HSE on active local GP involvement in the centres.