Tuesday, 9 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
161. Ms McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans for the sale of lands at Newcastle Hospital in County Wicklow in view of the announcement of the intention to sell off lands at a number of psychiatric institutions; if she has carried out an assessment on this; the extent of land; the planning consideration taken into account; the details of the consultation with the local community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27891/04]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O’Malley): Earlier this year, my Department requested health boards to provide it with detailed schedules of all proposals regarding planned disposal of property. The sale of assets in the health area will be used for health purposes, with the exception of a contribution towards social and affordable housing.
The information received from the health boards in response to this request is being examined at present. Among the matters to be considered in this context is the fulfilment of my Department’s obligations in respect of the provision of lands for affordable housing. I believe it would be inappropriate to provide further details in advance of the completion of this process. With regard to establishing the extent of the total surplus properties available to the health services, it will be necessary to carry out a professional assessment or evaluation of the entire health estate. This issue will be addressed by a group of senior officials in my Department in the near future.
With regard to Newcastle Hospital, I am informed by the East Coast Area Health Board that consideration is being given to the development of a number of new health service facilities on the lands of Newcastle Hospital. Technical staff have been asked to formulate an overall development plan for the site. Subsequent to the production of this overall plan, the question of residual property will be reviewed in the context of health services priorities for the region.
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