As the Deputy is aware, responsibility for the provision of health services in the Limerick area rests with the Mid-Western Health Board in the first instance.
As the Deputy is aware, I visited St. Ita's Hospital, and I am aware that proposals to develop a 12-bed facility for elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease have been prepared by the design team appointed to that project, under the direction of the project team, which includes representatives of the Mid-Western Health Board and the Department of Health and Children. It is intended that the unit will be a continuing-care facility, and it will also provide respite care. Planning permission for the proposed development has been obtained.
The Mid-Western Health Board has submitted to my Department a request for approval to seek tenders for construction of the proposed unit. That request is now being considered in the context of existing commitments and overall funding resources available.