Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (231)

John Lyons


231. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an assurance that the funds for a primary care centre at a location (details supplied) in Dublin 11 will be ring-fenced in the event that the planned development does not go ahead or is delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32459/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Minister of State at the Department of Health

Finglas has been identified as a high priority location for the development of a primary care centre (PCC). Approval for a HSE direct-build PCC was approved in 2012 in the context of the HSE's multi-annual Capital Plan. Following the review of a number of sites in the area, the HSE identified a Dublin City Council owned property on Mellowes Road, Finglas as the preferred site for the construction of the proposed new Finglas PCC. Subject to planning permission, the commercial terms for the sale were agreed with the officials of Dublin City Council and approved by the HSE. This site was selected because

- it is centrally located in the catchment area which it is intended to serve;

- it has very good accessibility and is well served by bus routes;

- it is a generous green-field site, has future expansion capacity and there would be no impact on current services during the construction period;

- it would complement the HSE Day Care Centre on Kildonan Road;

- it facilitates the establishment of GP services in this area; local GPs have expressed significant interest in discussion with the HSE, in being a part of this development in this specific location.

The HSE now advises that the North West Committee which is a local area committee of Dublin City Council has rejected the proposed sale of the Mellowes Road site to the HSE for use as a health care facility. A final decision is awaited from Dublin City Council. The HSE remains committed to the development of this primary care centre and has appointed a design team who have commenced a preliminary design. The design is now on-hold pending completion of the purchase. It was intended to submit the planning application once the site acquisition had been finalised.

An important feature of the HSE's construction programme is that it recognises the construction dynamic - that construction projects can develop at different paces - and as a consequence it is multi-annual. Ring-fencing this project's estimated construction costs would cut across the multi-annual concept and be counter-productive, as funds ring-fenced but not spent in a given year must be surrendered to the Exchequer at year end. This project's progress and its estimated costs (as is the case for all other projects) are reviewed and revised as appropriate at each stage of development.