The question of developing a paediatric accident and emergency unit at St. Columcille's Hospital is a matter for consideration in the first instance by the Eastern Regional Health Authority. I have, therefore, asked the regional chief executive of the authority to investigate the matter raised and respond directly to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.
I should point out to the Deputy that my colleague, Deputy Hanafin, Minister of State at my Department, announced in July 2000 approval to a grant of £5 million for the upgrading of facilities at St. Columcille's Hospital. This development will include an extension to the existing accident and emergency department. A project team is in place to oversee this work. I am satisfied that this investment will contribute to the enhancement of accident and emergency services at the hospital.