West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Omagh Council Delegation Press Health Minister on Retention of Acute Mental Health and Inpatient Addiction Services

Published: 17 February, 2014

Omagh District Council Chairman, Councillor Martin McColgan, led a cross-party delegation of Councillors, as well as representatives from the Trade Union UNISON, to Stormont today to bring their message that "proposals to remove acute mental health and inpatient addiction treatment services from Omagh are grossly unfair and are detrimental to health".

The delegation was met at Stormont by all six West Tyrone MLAs who presented a united voice for the retention of these vital services. MLAs from a number of Parties also met the delegation in a show of support. In addition to having the opportunity to discuss the Council's concerns at a meeting with Maeve McLaughlin MLA, Chair of the Health Committee, the delegation was pleased to have an 'impromptu' meeting with the Health Minister, Mr Edwin Poots MLA, as he arrived for the Assembly session.

Councillor McColgan and members of the delegation raised the issues of promises made by successive Health Ministers, and by Minister Poots himself, that acute mental health services and inpatient addiction services would remain in Omagh, as these were committed to repeatedly for inclusion in the range of services to be provided in the Enhanced Local Hospital for Omagh. Minister Poots reassured the delegation that he has heard and understood their strength of feeling on the matter and has not made a final decision on the location of these services for the West, and is awaiting further reports in the Spring before coming to a conclusion.

Speaking after the meetings, Councillor McColgan said that such a large, cross-party delegation sent a very strong message, to the Minister and to the Assembly, that the Council is totally united on the issue and that Minister Poots must honour the pledges made to the people of Omagh, and confirm that Omagh will continue to be the location for the delivery of acute mental health and inpatient addiction services, building on the long tradition of excellence at Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital.

"The delegation put strong arguments to both the Minister and to the Chair of the Health Committee, highlighting that the Western Trust is in agreement that these services should continue to be located in Omagh."