POLITICAL opinion locally is divided over today’s stimulus package.
Donegal is to get two new primary healthcare centres, with a new court house for Letterkenny also in the plans.
Fine Gael Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley T.D. for Donegal South West, has welcomed plans to develop two new Primary Care Centres in Donegal Town & Dungloe. The announcement was made as part of a multi-billion euro stimulus package unveiled by the Government, which also includes significant investment in roads and schools across the country.
“It will come as a great boost to the people of South West Donegal that two new Primary Care Centres is planned for Donegal Town & Dungloe. The new centres will make a real difference to the way in which the people of South West Donegal access health care services in the community.
“Developing the network of Primary Care Centres is a key commitment in the Programme for Government. It was also a central plank of Fine Gael’s reform programme for the health service, which was developed in Opposition and is now being pursued in Government by Minister James Reilly and his colleague Minister Roisin Shorthall.
“Primary Care Centres, like the two new ones to be provided in Donegal Town & Dungloe, will be the first point of contact for people who need to access health services in the years ahead. In a developed Primary Care system, as envisaged by the Government, up to 95% of people’s day-to-day health and social care needs can be provided in a community setting.
“The new centres will make a substantial difference to the lives of people in Donegal Town & Dungloe. As well as treating illness, the centres in Donegal Town & Dungloe will help people to care for themselves, such as those with a long-term illness, and it will also help to prevent serious illness from occurring in the first place by providing easily accessible health services in the community.
“A focus on Primary Care not only benefits patients, it will also benefit the taxpayer. By allowing patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke and asthma, to be treated near or at their homes, we can save the health service millions of euro by preventing hospital stays.
“I look forward to the development of the new Primary Care Centres in Donegal Town and Dungloe, and to seeing the benefits it brings the local community.”
However Donegal Sinn Féin County Councillor Jack Murray has slammed the government’s disregard of Donegal as part of its €2.25bn stimulus package. Cllr Murray said he was shocked that no funding was announced for the crucial A5 Derry to Dublin dual carriageway.
Commenting on the announcement Cllr Murray said: “Sinn Féin has been calling for a stimulus package for years in order to boost our flailing economy. While a €2.25bn injection is welcome news for many areas, it is glaringly obvious that Donegal has been almost completely ignored in the distribution of this money.
“There is no mention of the A5 Dublin to Derry dual-carriageway which is crucial to the economic growth of Donegal and the northwest of Ireland. It is also a key component of the Good Friday Agreement which the Irish government has signed up to.
“I was shocked to hear that of the €850m announced for infrastructural upgrades, none will be invested in the northwest. Instead areas which are already connected to the capital by motorway such as Galway and Wexford will have their motorways upgraded.
“This is a slap in the face to the 250,000 people in the northwest. This area has the highest level of unemployment on the island and is more in need of investment than any other region.
“While the 6 County Executive has shown leadership in living up to its commitments to the A5, the Irish government still refuses to do so.
“Our Donegal Fine Gael and Labour Oireachtas members need to make their voices heard on this issue. We need to unite and stand up for Donegal together.”