I am pleased to be able to inform the Deputy that the development of the primary care centres in Portumna, Gort and Headford is being progressed.
Planning permission has been obtained for the Portumna development, and the HSE expects to enter into a lease agreement with the developer in quarter 3 of this year, which is quite shortly.
Previous efforts to develop primary care centres in Gort and Headford have not been successful. However, Gort was included in a recent national advertisement seeking expressions of interest from developers for the delivery of the next tranche of 47 primary care centres. We have gone back to the market through advertisement. Submissions have now been received by the HSE and they are currently being considered. The Headford site was re-advertised locally in 2018, and the project has since progressed to a stage at which short-listed candidates have been invited to submit a priced offer.
Unfortunately, it is not possible at this stage to provide an estimated operational date for any of the three centres. Nonetheless, the HSE and the primary care sector are very determined to deliver on these projects. There are now 127 primary care centres in operation across the country, and a further nine are expected to open in 2019. I am aware, however, of how important the three in question are to the people of Galway East. The Deputy has raised this with me on an ongoing basis. We now have the planning permission for Portumna, and we will have the lease agreement in quarter 3. Gort will, I hope, attract some interest through the current expression-of-interest process, and suitable candidates have now been short-listed for Headford. I will undertake to revert to the Deputy on all three as we continue to see progress on them.