Social Democrats Councillor for Birr, Clare Claffey, has welcomed confirmation from the HSE that there will be space for an out-of-hours GP service in the Primary Care Centre planned for the town.

The details were provided in response to a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Health from Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats.

Cllr Claffey said:

“I am particularly encouraged to see that the MIDOC out-of-hours GP service is likely is to be provided in Birr as the HSE has indicated that the Primary Care Centre will have adequate space for its provision. This will be warmly welcomed by local parents who currently have to travel to Tullamore if they need a doctor for their children at night.

“I have been campaigning for the delivery of a Primary Care Centre for Birr for a number of years and it is disappointing and frustrating that the project has encountered a number of setbacks. In 2018, An Bord Pleanála refused permission for the centre on the rugby club site, despite it being the preferred location of GPs and the HSE.

“Since then, a number of sites have been considered by Offaly County Council, including the Rectory lands. However, no decision has been made on this location due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“GPs have indicated to the HSE that the rugby club site continues to be their preferred location and they intend to make a submission to this effect as part of the review of the Offaly County Development Plan 2021-2027. The deadline for submission on the plan is October 7 and it is expected to be completed by autumn 2021.

“I will continue to campaign for the delivery of this badly-needed Primary Care Centre and hope there will be no further impediments to its progress.”

August 5, 2020

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