Longford Cllr Peggy Nolan welcomes Health Minister's announcement from hospital bed

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

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aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Cllr Peggy Nolan

Cllr Peggy Nolan


The Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced a multi million Euro investment in St Joseph’s Care Centre in Longford town.

Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) who was hospitalised at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar this morning due to ill health has spoken for the first time since the announcement.

Cllr Nolan has been fighting the case for St Joseph’s for over 20 years and the news has brought a great sense of relief to her.  

“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” an emotional Cllr Nolan told the Leader from the hospital this afternoon.

Minister Harris confirmed this morning that the capital funding allocated for major refurbishment works at the centre would now be forthcoming and indicated that phase one of the project would commence in 2018 while phase 2 would begin in 2019 with the aim of having all the works completed by 2021.”

“This announcement,” added Cllr Nolan “is a culmination of 20 years of hard slog; I was called a scaremonger when I said services were being pulled from St Joseph’s and was ignored by a lot of people when it became clear that St Joseph’s Care Centre in Longford town was being downgraded.”

While she admitted the announcement this morning was “good news”, she still feels an element of trepidation towards matters.  

“I want clarification now on a number of matters,” she added before asking if a new acquired brain injury unit would become part of future services at St Joseph’s.

“Will there be a dedicated Alzheimer’s Unit and will a step down facility be provided there for older people who want to come home to Longford to recuperate?,” she questioned.

“St Joseph’s has the potential to provide total health care to the people of this county and I want that noted.

“A weight has been lifted off my shoulders with this announcement and I am saddened that I was not there to hear the Minister making such an important announcement today.”

Minister Haris, meanwhile, said St Joseph’s was a great site with the ability to do a great deal more.

“I spent quite a lot of time there today speaking to residents and staff and the quality of care is excellent there,” he added.

“The HIQA report shows that the main issues at St Joseph’s Care Centre is the environment; the facility is not fit for purpose in terms of infrastructure and that is why I am determined to provide the capital funding so that St Joseph’s can deliver.”