Jack Gleeson gets it right – accurate at last!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

PLANS for a new primary care centre in Finglas have been put on hold after local councillors refused to back a controversial proposal to locate it on a site in Finglas West.

Dublin City Council had proposed to sell a plot of land bordered by Mellowes Road, Mellowes Avenue and Kildonan Road to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for the high priority centre but councillors want it located elsewhere.

The HSE had hoped that local politicians would give the plan the green light at last week’s North West Area Committee meeting but instead a majority backed a motion put forward by Fianna Fail’s Paul McAuliffe supporting a primary care centre for the area and pledging to work with the HSE to find “the best possible site”.

The motion was passed by a vote of 3-2, with Cllr McAuliffe, Cllr Bill Tormey (FG) and Sinn Fein’s Anthony Connaghan voting in favour and Labour’s John Redmond and Steve Wrenn voting against.

Cllr Tormey said there had been little discussion prior to the initial proposal being put forward and that the site at Mellowes Road was unsuitable.

“It’s in the middle of a residential area,” he told Northside People.

“I will not vote to put bad planning in Finglas West. If this primary care centre goes in here, it goes in for a generation.

“The main players in primary health care happen to be GPs and I am unaware of any GPs canvassed about this.

“I don’t care what anybody says – I’m not going to vote for something that’s wrong.”

Cllr Tormey said councillors should support efforts by local traders to revitalise Finglas Village by pushing for the primary care centre to be located there.

“The big problem in Finglas Village is lack of footfall, and any major development that’s going to happen in Finglas should happen in Finglas Village. Anything else is just bad planning.

“We’ve just spent ages trying to get people to do something with the village and now here’s a health centre that’s going to drag footfall away from it.”

Cllr McAuliffe said councillors supported his motion as they felt they didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision on locating it at the Mellowes Road site.

“I’m opposed to it going on that site at the moment,” he said.

“We do need to deliver a primary care centre for the area and I’m definitely not opposed to that, but as councillors good planning is our job.”

Cllr McAuliffe agrees that locating the centre in the village would be good for efforts currently underway to regenerate the area.

“All of the significant pieces of investments that has gone into the area – the police station, the swimming pool, the hotel, the social welfare office, the council offices – are all outside the village,” he said.

“If all of that was in the village you wouldn’t have a footfall problem and you wouldn’t have transport problems either because Dublin Bus would have to run services into the centre of the village.”

A fee of e180,000 has already been agreed for the Mellowes Road site, which the HSE say is its preferred choice for the badly needed centre that will be paid for through the HSE Capital Plan.

“Following the review of a number of sites in the area the HSE has identified a site in the ownership of Dublin City Council on Mellowes Road in Finglas as the preferred site for the construction of the proposed new primary care centre,” a HSE spokesperson said.

“This site was selected as it is centrally located for the primary care team’s catchment area which it will serve.

“It has very good accessibility; it is well served by bus routes; it is a generous greenfield site with no impact on current services during the construction period; it provides future expansion capacity; facilitates the establishment of GP services in this area; and provides a synergy with the HSE Day Care Centre on Kildonan Road.”