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Saturday 20 July 2019

Minister James Reilly's state-of-art health centre unveiled

An artist's impression of the proposed primary care centre
An artist's impression of the proposed primary care centre

Fiach Kelly and Fionnan Sheahan

THE primary care centre in the heart of Health Minister James Reilly's constituency will be three storeys tall, offer 10 different types of medical treatments and have a restaurant on site.

Planning permission for the 4,500sqm centre being developed by a Fine Gael donor, on a site in the minister's Dublin North constituency owned by a party supporter, were lodged with the local council this week.

Dr Reilly bumped Balbriggan up the controversial list of primary care centre locations.

The Health Minister landed in hot water when the Irish Independent revealed one of his supporters, Seamus Murphy, owned the site and he had used a property on it as a general election base.

The application says the site being built by Rhonellan Developments, whose chairman AJ Noonan donated €1,000 to Fine Gael, was selected after an assessment of four other sites in the town. Up to 93 people will be working in the centre, between HSE staff, doctors' surgeries, a pharmacy and restaurant. The plan will involve the demolition of four buildings.

The centre also contains 50 car parking spaces on the ground floor, a chemists and a shop. The architects describe how the shape of the site presented "a design challenge" to provide accommodation and 50 parking spaces "without overdeveloping the site". The application says the inclusion of a restaurant cafe, which can hold 82 diners at a time, provides a "convenient meeting place integral to the development".

Priority

"The restaurant opens to the south, where a dining terrace is provided.

"The central terrace at first-floor level overlooks the restaurant below and is accessible to both public and staff at the centre."

The planning application is accompanied by a letter from the HSE saying it has entered into an agreement for lease with Rhonellan Developments and support the application.

"Given the demand on services in Balbriggan and the inadequacies of the current primary care accommodation, a new Balbriggan Primary Care Centre is of utmost importance to the HSE and it is a high priority for the HSE to deliver the centre in a timely manner," HSE estates manager Paul Flood wrote.

The application goes through the number of staff expected to be working in the centre: 58 HSE medical staff; five HSE admin staff; 10 GP medical staff; five GP admin staff; five restaurant staff; and five shop staff.

The site is located near Balbriggan town centre on the main road into the town from Dublin city.

Fingal County Council will make a decision on whether to grant planning permission before Christmas.

Irish Independent

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