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Senator says he lobbied Gilmore on behalf of a proposed primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen

Local Ballaghaderreen News

Senator says he lobbied Gilmore on behalf of a proposed primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen

This article originally appeared in the Irish Times on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 – Click Here to read the original article.

By HARRY McGEE, Political Correspondent, and TOM SHIELS

THE TÁNAISTE is not in a position to confirm if he received or passed on any representation made on behalf of a proposed primary care centre in Ballaghaderreen.

Labour Party Senator John Kelly told The Irish Times he had lobbied Eamon Gilmore’s “handlers” about the need for such a centre in Ballaghaderreen. Mr Kelly said he began lobbying from about a year before the eventual decision was made last July.

However, in response to a query from The Irish Times, Mr Gilmore’s office was in a position to offer only a general response, that he had received representations on a variety of issues which he had directed to the relevant agency.

It is understood that more precise information on Mr Kelly’s representations would be required before Mr Gilmore could respond specifically to the query. Mr Gilmore’s office deals with a large volume of representations.

Ballaghaderreen was one of five primary care centres added to an already extended list of 30 centres prioritised for development by Minister for Health James Reilly by public-private partnership, along with Swords, Balbriggan and Darndale in Dublin and Castlecomer in Kilkenny. Mr Kelly has strongly asserted the right of Ballaghaderreen to be included. The town on the border with Mayo is at least 30 miles from both Castlebar and Roscommon hospitals, and also does not have an ambulance centre, he had pointed out.

Separately, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, speaking in Castlebar, would not answer questions yesterday on whether he and Mr Gilmore had been consulted last July by the Minister for Health about the proposed location of primary healthcare centres. The claim was made in a Sunday newspaper.

Asked if this consultation took place, Mr Kenny replied: “No, these things have all been dealt with both in the Dáil and outside.

“We have a situation now where we have a stimulus package which covers road developments, which covers bundles of schools, which covers health areas including primary care centres.”