Local frustration at the slow pace of progress on Phase 2B of the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar was brought directly to the Government this week by Labour TD Willie Penrose.
Speaking in a Dail debate on Wednesday, Deputy Penrose told TDs he was “absolutely stunned” that 11 and a half years after he first stood in the Dáil to request rapid progress on the plans for Phase 2B of the General Hospital at Mullingar, he was again compelled to raise the concerns of his constituents over the slow pace of progress.
“In 2006, we were informed that the unit would be opened towards the end of 2007, and then we were told that Phase 2B - Stage 1 would be completed in 2008,” he said.
While acknowledging the allocation of an additional €4 million for the refurbishment of existing wards and plans for the completion of the road, car parking, and drainage by the end of 2008, Deputy Penrose said staff are still waiting to hear if sufficient additional staff will be provided.
Saying he wanted “clear answers”, the TD wanted to know whether the new acute psychiatric unit was being scrapped, and why the bed complement of 313 had been subjected to another cost benefit analysis.
“I am calling upon you here tonight to make sure that the necessary funding of €36 million is provided in the Budget to allow Stage 2 of Phase 2B to proceed - and get it open next year in 2009 or early 2010 - about 13 years after it should have been completed at a fraction of the cost that will now be incurred in making it a reality,” said the TD.
“The time for action has long since passed, our patience has been exhausted, and if you don’t give a positive reply, I can assure you that the Labour Party will bring the people back on the streets of Mullingar and to the Gates of Dáil Éireann to fight with our feet for what is rightfully ours.”