Statement | Donnelly welcomes reprieve for Wicklow Primary Care Centre

Health Minister agrees to Donnelly’s call for all options to be explored to secure future of Wicklow Primary Care Centre

The Independent TD for Wicklow and East Carlow, Stephen Donnelly TD, today welcomed the commitment from the Minister for Health, James Reilly, to “explore all options” as a matter of urgency to ensure the proposed new primary care centre for Wicklow Town goes ahead.

Responding to Deputy Donnelly’s questioning, the Minister also announced that the HSE had agreed to allow the developers a three-month extension to their lease agreement. “This had been due to expire, and the extension gives the developers some breathing space in which to secure their funding,” Stephen Donnelly TD said.

“This is particularly important because Wicklow is one of the most poorly served counties across a wide range of services, including mental health services, acute coverage and palliative care,” Stephen Donnelly TD said.

“The primary care centre in Wicklow town seems to represent best practice.  It is a public-private partnership.  It brings in multidisciplinary teams and high-end diagnostics, and in time there may be a nursing home there.  It will create an additional 50 to 60 jobs, on top of the 100 or so people who will work on the construction.  The health care benefit for the region is enormous.”

Stephen Donnelly explained that the development of the primary care centre has been threatened by uncertainty over €271,000 of funding.

“This vital health facility, and source of employment, must not be allowed to fail for €271,000.  The planning levy from Wicklow County Council is €543,000.  Potentially, we will lose a remarkably important centre from a health care and an economic perspective over an amount only half of what the county council seeks for permission to build.”

Minister James Reilly responded that he was “looking outside the box” for solutions to the funding problem for the primary care centres. “Aside from the excellent new services and care they will bring and aside from the fact that they will take considerable pressure off hospitals, they will provide real employment in their areas,” he said.