Flooding causes six-week delay to hospital extension

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

The completion of the new €22 million extension to Letterkenny General Hospital has been delayed by six weeks due to flooding which took place in December.

The completion of the new €22 million extension to Letterkenny General Hospital has been delayed by six weeks due to flooding which took place in December.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said the ground floor of the new building was damaged after adverse weather caused a culvert which runs through the hospital site to overflow.

Following a query by the Donegal Democrat the HSE said the damage has led to a delay of approximately six weeks in the completion of construction works to the new building which includes new emergency department and a 24-bed medical unit. The HSE said there will be no additional cost in carrying out the repair works as it is covered by the contractor’s insurance company. “The completion contractor acted immediately to minimise the damage caused and has begun to repair any damage and replace finishes when required,” the HSE said.

The original completion date for the project was the end of last month but the HSE says the building will be ready for use the middle of 2012.

The delay caused by the flooding is the latest set back to the project. The contractor, John Sisk & Sons, was appointed last October after work had stopped for almost a year. The construction had ceased after the original contractor, Michael McNamara, went into receivership. Work on the project began three years ago and the HSE has said construction was nearly complete when work stopped.

While the building is expected to be completed in the middle of this year, doubt has been cast on whether funding will be available to open it. Last year Letterkenny General Hospital ran up a overdraft of €8 million. In January, Junior health minister Kathleen Lynch said the new emergency department would be “ready for use” in the summer. However, the hospital’s general manager Sean Murphy said he could not guarantee that it will open this year.