I wish to set out for the Minister of State the difficulty we face in Schull Community Hospital. Recently, the Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly, visited Schull where the first phase of the planned Schull Community Hospital has been more or less completed. I have put in a lot of political effort on this issue during the years as it is a project that has moved very slowly. Many years ago, I brought a delegation to Dublin, a minibus load of mainly elderly people, including one woman was in her 80s, to meet the then Minister, Brian Cowen, who likened his brief at the time to being like dealing with Angola.
Phase 1 of this project is almost complete and fantastic work is being done in this little community hospital which serves the Mizen Head peninsula, an area close to that represented by the Minister of State's former colleague, P. J. Sheehan, who was in the Oireachtas for many years. He was a political adversary of mine, but was also a friend. He will be 80 on Lá le Pádraig and I wish him well and wish him health in his retirement. With regard to phases 2 and 3 of this project, the people want to know when it is likely work on these will commence and when is it expected they will be completed? Is the money available for this project?
Statistics indicate that there is a high number of elderly on the Mizen Head peninsula, just like in other remote areas. The age profile in these areas is older and there are more people over the age of 65 or 70 years than there are young people in their teens and 20s. I hope the Minister of State will in the week that is in it have an abundance of good news for me on this issue.