The proposed extension at the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon
Community hospital projects in Donegal are facing delays as part of the fallout from the overrun of the National Children’s Hospital.
There are fears that projects such as the €19m 80-bed extension to the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon and hospital projects in Stranorlar, Carndonagh, Lifford and Ramelton could be delayed as a result of the overrun.
Donegal TD and Minister for Education Joe McHugh confirmed there will be delays of two to three months to some of the projects.
Mr McHugh reiterated the Government’s commitment to the projects but confirmed that the upgrade of Carndonagh Community Hospital will be delayed by two to three months and all the projects are facing possible deferrals of start dates.
A meeting has been called in Ballyshannon on Monday night to discuss the situation at the Sheil Hospital.
The Government also announced that it is delaying its €27m payment to the A5 dual carriageway. The project has been delayed due to a legal challenge and Mr McHugh says the €27m will be paid early next year instead of later this year.
The delay to the project is frustrating, Mr McHugh told Highland Radio.
"The binding commitment between both governments, both London and Dublin, is still there," he said.
The delays of the spending on the projects here have been met with anger.
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher, Leas Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil, said the development was bad news for the communities where the projects are due to go ahead.
“As a county, it seems at this stage that we are bearing the maximum level of these cuts being imposed by the entire Cabinet. The Government has hit Donegal the hardest following their mismanagement of the Children’s Hospital project.
“Roads projects delayed, community hospitals deferred before they start and perhaps even more cuts are to follow when the full details of these cuts are revealed. It is self-evident that no one is wearing the Donegal jersey around the Cabinet table at present.”
Deputy Thomas Pringle said Donegal has been waiting for an incredibly long time for an upgrade to the A5.
“It is worrying that Fine Gael has the power and the scope to withdraw or delay funding for Donegal’s infrastructural needs overnight in an attempt to save their own skin on the national stage.
“Now there are talks that upgrades to the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon might be under threat too which could affect access to health services for constituents in the south of Donegal. Fine Gael must move to reassure people that other infrastructural projects are not under threat.”
Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue said the A5 is a vital piece of infrastructure for Donegal and the North West.
“Today we are looking at another significant delay as the government scrambles to fund the overrun on the National Children’s Hospital and targets the north west as the first area to have funding taken away.
“I know that efforts are underway to try to overcome the legal impasse so that the requirement for Stormont ministerial sign-off can be circumvented, with a view to work being able to commence on the A5 before the end of this year. This makes it crucial that the funding from the Government is available for the project so that it can proceed if the legal impasse is resolved.”